As a client, you are only allowed to ask your therapist about specific questions about what you want to know. This is because you are in therapy and, although you may be there for therapy, you are still a person with thoughts, feelings and needs. So, while you may feel very comfortable talking to your therapist about your problems, you are not necessarily giving permission to talk about personal problems. If you think of your therapy as an interview, then it makes sense that you should only ask the questions that are relevant to your therapy and to the process of therapy itself. The purpose of this article is to help guide you in deciding what questions to ask before you start therapy.
Therapy is not necessarily a one-time thing. In fact, many therapists can find that their practice grows rather quickly by virtue of the constant communication between them and their clients. If you have decided that you want help to deal with your own issues, then it is important that you ask yourself what kind of questions you should be asking before you start therapy. What follows are some questions that can bring about an initial discussion about how you want to go about therapy and what it might involve.
Do you think that good therapists ask about a range of issues? This is not a surprise, since it is in the nature of the work that people come with varying emotional baggage and challenges. There are some people who need support and counselling skills, and there are some people who have a clear understanding of what they need but are unable to communicate those needs effectively. In this respect, both types of clients need different kinds of support and counselling skills.
If you are a good therapist and you only deal with people whose problems are essentially personal, then the nature of your work will be fairly straightforward and easy to understand. In other words, your client’s problems are going to bring about the issues in their lives, so you will need to be able to deal with them on an intuitive level and a degree of compassion. If you have already met the person you are working with and you are simply seeking their perspective on their problems, then the nature of the therapy will also be fairly clear-cut.
The nature of your first therapy session will determine the nature of the subsequent discussions that will take place. If you start out with a clearly identified problem and if you are able to ask good questions and refer to examples of other people whose work you admire, then you will have established rapport. The next stage will then be to move towards deeper questions and concerns. This is where it can become difficult, because most of us want to be able to solve problems quickly and we want to be able to avoid uncomfortable situations.
However, a problem that does not get resolved in the therapeutic setting will usually escalate into a situation that does. This does not mean that the client will be trying to force an issue, but if they are left hanging, there is a possibility that it will eventually come up. It is important not to become defensive or attempt to control the process. Just accept the fact that as a client, you are free to ask your therapist about anything. If they respond with silence or limited response, then it may be time to move onto another therapist.
Of course, when you are working with a therapist who refuses to answer these types of fundamental questions, you are wasting your money. In order to ensure that you have an equally valuable experience, you will need to make sure that you ask many such questions during your therapy sessions. This will allow you to learn what areas need improvement, what areas of your therapy need revision, and you will be able to tailor your sessions to meet your unique needs.