7 Questions to Ask a Potential Therapist

Medically reviewed by Mark Hrymoc MD

If you’re considering therapy, you may be wondering which questions to ask a potential therapist. The American Psychological Association surveyed therapists; most reported more clients seeking treatment today than ever. These increases put more demands on therapists, with four out of ten reporting they cannot meet all their clients’ needs. Issues like lack of specialty training, technology, and available hours are vital issues they face, points you should be aware of before choosing a therapist.

There are numerous other answers you need to choose a treatment provider. To help, create a list of questions to ask them during the interview process. Essentially, you are hiring a professional to provide the services you need. 

This article will share some questions to ask a potential therapist.

Questions to Ask a Potential Therapist

Knowing which questions to ask a potential therapist before starting treatment as a client is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it enables you to assess whether the therapist’s approach, experience, and areas of expertise align with your needs and expectations. Therapy is a highly personalized process; finding a practitioner who understands your unique circumstances and employs the most effective treatment methods is crucial. By inquiring about their therapeutic style, experience with your specific concerns, and preferred techniques, you can gain valuable insights into whether they fit you.

Secondly, asking questions fosters a sense of trust and rapport between you and the therapist, which is essential for a successful therapeutic relationship. Therapy often involves delving into deeply personal and sensitive issues, and it’s vital that you feel comfortable sharing these with your therapist. By asking questions, you create an opportunity better to understand their values, beliefs, and communication style, thus building a foundation of trust that will facilitate more open and honest communication throughout the therapeutic process.

Lastly, asking questions allows you to learn about practical aspects of therapy, such as fees, scheduling, and policies. Therapy can be a significant investment of time, effort, and resources. It is essential to clearly understand what to expect regarding the therapeutic process and any financial or logistical considerations. This will help you decide whether the therapist’s services suit your needs and circumstances, ultimately ensuring that you receive the most effective care possible.

Here are seven questions to ask a potential therapist.

1. What Are the Financial Obligations for Therapy?

Is your mental health more important than what it costs to go to therapy? Yes. Can financial obligations negatively affect your mental health? Yes. While you should never let money deter you from seeking help, it is always best to know what to expect before you begin.

The following are examples of good financial questions to ask potential therapists:

  • How much do services cost per session?
  • What are the telehealth versus in-person services fees?
  • Do you accept my insurance plan?
  • Do you have a sliding scale fee or discounts?
  • Are there additional fees to pay?
  • What are the costs for no-shows and cancellations?

This is one of the most important questions to ask a potential therapist, as it will provide you with the information needed to plan for the financial aspects of therapy.

2. What Education and Experience Do You Have?

Some people are afraid to ask a therapist about their education and experience. They don’t want to offend the therapist. However, a good therapist will welcome these questions. They want to be a good match also, and if not, they want to help you find a therapist who is.

Ask questions like:

  • Where did you go to college? Is it accredited?
  • What degree did you earn?
  • How many years of experience do you have?
  • What type of clients do you work with the best?
  • Do you have specialty licenses or certifications?

3. What Should I Expect While in Therapy?

Most therapists are flexible regarding how often to meet and the content of each session. Some may be less flexible. Talk to potential therapists about expectations and give them insight into your lifestyle, then ask:

  • How many sessions does therapy take?
  • What are your business hours?
  • What if my schedule does not match your business hours?
  • Are there any restrictions, such as for COVID, for in-person sessions?
  • What happens during therapy sessions?
  • Do you give homework assignments?
  • Can I bring family or a friend with me to the sessions?
  • Do you collaborate with other treatment professionals or community resources?

If you’re not sure which questions to ask a potential therapist, consider starting with this one.

4. Do You Recommend Taking Medication for My Symptoms?

Therapists are not able to prescribe medications. Only physicians or psychiatrists can assess, diagnose, and prescribe medications for mental health and substance abuse disorders. Therapists do play a valuable role in determining if you can benefit from medication, however. With your permission, they can share important information with a psychiatrist to aid in the doctor’s decision.

Ask a potential therapist the following questions:

  • Do you recommend medication as part of a therapy plan?
  • Do you offer alternative treatments to medication?
  • How can medication improve treatment results?

5. What Types of Therapy Approaches Do You Use?

Hundreds of therapy approaches exist, and each benefits certain people with specific issues. The therapist you choose must use approaches that have been proven to work for the problems you are trying to overcome. Cognitive-behavioral therapies are the most generic of all and should be the basis for some of their approaches. Find out by asking questions like:

  • How do you choose which therapy approaches to use?
  • What types of behavioral therapies do you use to treat my symptoms?
  • What types of alternative therapies do you use?
  • Do you include family therapy in a treatment plan?
  • Do you recommend peer support groups as a supplement to therapy?

This is one of the more helpful questions to ask a potential therapist, as the answer will reveal options you may explore during treatment.

6. How Will I Know If Therapy is Working?

Most therapists utilize several methods for measuring the progress of their clients. To find out more, ask questions such as:

  • How do you define successful therapy?
  • Do you set short and long-term goals for treatment?
  • How long does it take to start feeling better?

7. What is Your Role in My Therapy?

How therapists participate in your therapy will vary. Some therapists like to take the role of a teacher, instructing you on ways to overcome your issues. They send you home with homework assignments to complete before the next session. Other therapists take on the role of listener, allowing you to do most of the talking as they guide you through important topics. The goal is for you to discover the best solutions to your problems. Ask potential therapists the following questions:

  • What role do you play during therapy? Will you direct the therapy sessions, or should I?
  • What if I have a crisis and need help outside business hours? Are you available?
  • Do you ask a lot of questions or prefer conversations to happen naturally?
  • What happens if we differ on political, religious, cultural, or controversial topics?
  • What is your definition of the perfect client?

This is one of the more helpful questions to ask a potential therapist because it allows you to prepare for your therapy in a way that benefits you fully.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Potential therapists may also want to ask questions to see if you are a good fit for their practice. Be willing to provide this type of information. It can save time and effort. If a therapist finds you are not a good fit, do not take it personally. They want you to find someone who can genuinely help and is not only in it for the money.

Ask yourself the following questions so you can provide accurate information regarding your needs:

  • Why am I seeking therapy?
  • What are my issues?
  • How are my issues affecting my life and the lives of friends and family?
  • What do I want to get out of therapy?
  • Do I prefer to meet in person or online?
  • What are the best days and times for me to attend therapy?
  • How will I pay for therapy?


Now that you know which questions to ask a potential therapist, you can confidently move forward, understanding that you can find the best therapist for your needs.

Asking questions before beginning treatment with a therapist is essential in ensuring that you find a practitioner who best meets your needs, fosters a trusting therapeutic relationship and addresses practical concerns. By taking the time to gather this information, you are taking an essential step in your journey toward improved mental health and well-being.

The Mental Health Treatment Center in Beverly Hills is dedicated to providing compassionate and effective care tailored to each individual’s needs. We encourage you to reach out and ask any questions you may have to help you feel confident and secure in your choice of therapist. Our experienced team is ready to support you on your healing and personal growth path.