The doctor-patient relationship has had legal protection for a long one, but a successful one is built on trust that goes beyond the law. Your psychologist will trust that what you’re saying during a therapy session is true, and you must be able to trust that he or she will always work in your best interests.
In order for that trust to begin, you must feel comfortable with your relationship with your psychologist.
Here are some questions you might want to ask your doctor during your first visit with him or her:
- Why did you choose to become a psychologist?
- What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses?
- Have you ever personally seen a psychologist?
- What is your education level?
- What other type of training have you completed?
- How long have you been practicing?
- What is your primary focus of practice?
- Are there any types of clients you do not take?
- If you don’t feel you can help me, would you be willing to refer me to someone who can?
- Could you explain the type of treatment methods you use?
- How many patients do you typically see on average?
- How will treatment sessions work?
- How often will I be seeing you?
- What happens after you diagnose me?
- How soon can I expect to start seeing results?
- What is the likelihood I can overcome my problem(s)?
- Is there anything I can do outside of therapy to help?
- Is there any other source of information you recommend (i.e. website, book, magazines)?
- What are my privacy rights to what I tell you during a session?
- To what extent will my insurance cover these sessions and other treatment?
- Is there anything else important I may have not asked?
Also, don’t hesitate to visit your psychologist’s website, verify his or her training, or ask for recommendations. While it might seem possibly rude to do so, a good psychologist will be prepared for these types of questions, and most likely have answered them before.
Remember: you are the one seeking treatment, so it’s important you get the best care possible. That begins with being comfortable with those responsible for that care.