Finding a therapist with whom you can comfortably talk about your history of sexual abuse can be a difficult task, to say the least. Since the topic matter is extremely sensitive, it is important to work with someone you trust as well as someone you “click” with, someone who has the right method, style, and personality for your particular case. The guidelines below may be helpful in selecting the right therapist for you.
Get a Consultation First
So you’ve done some research on a therapist – checked out their credentials, read reviews, etc. – and you have a good feeling about them. But don’t draw up a contract just yet. Have a consultation session with them first before you make any commitments. After all, the only way to get a good “feel” for a person is to actually sit down and talk with them.
You may have a session with multiple therapists before finding the right one, and most therapists charge for a consultation. However, it’ll be worth the expense to ensure that you make a choice that is healthy for you.
What Should I Ask at a Consultation?
In addition to being a sexual abuse survivor, you are a consumer. It is up to you to ask all the right questions and to find out everything you can about a potential therapist’s qualifications and compatibility. Some key questions to ask during a consultation include the following:
- How many years have you practiced as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker?
- What specific training and/or supervision have you had in working clinically with sexual abuse survivors?
- Have you yourself ever been in treatment?
- What is your approach to therapy?
- What is your payment policy regarding missed sessions and cancellation?
- Are you available for more than one session per week if necessary?
- Do you have any psychiatric referrals in case I need medication?
- What are your limits of confidentiality?
- What are your expectations of me?
By asking these questions, not only will you get the answers you need, but you will also get an impression of the therapist’s attitude, tone of voice, and other important attributes, which will help you make an informed decision.
Contract for Six Sessions
After selecting a therapist, the general rule of thumb is to contract for six sessions. This should be enough time to get to know the therapist and to determine whether they are right for you. It is important to bring up your concerns and to discuss how things are going at the end of each session. It is also important not to bolt without carefully considering with the therapist your reasons for leaving. Remember, therapy is often emotionally intense, rocky, and volatile, so if you don’t hate your therapist at one point, then work probably is not getting done.
We Can Help
At Wilshire Law Firm, our compassionate attorneys can provide you with not only the legal help but also the mental health resources you need to heal and take back your life after suffering sexual abuse. Please don’t hesitate to call us at (800) 522-7274 if you have any questions. We will gladly provide answers.