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Hannah Savard

Important Questions to Ask Your New Therapist at Intake

When you’re choosing a therapist, it’s important to ensure that the individual you’re working with aligns with your beliefs, values, and experiences. If you’ve ever been to therapy, you’re probably familiar with being asked a bunch of questions during the first session. This is usually a screening exam to help the therapist understand the problems the client is facing. What many don’t realize is that you are also allowed to ask your therapist questions. You will spend a lot of time with this person, revealing to them your most vulnerable moments. It’s important for both of you to feel safe and comfortable in this environment. Here are five questions to help aid you in searching for a therapist. 1.  What experience do you have in treating ________ ? It is absolutely OK for you to ask what kind of experience and background they have in treating particular conditions. This helps you find out the following: How long have they been treating this condition? What approach do they use? Are they comfortable treating this condition? What is their opinion on the mainstream approach to treatment? This is super important. It helps you determine if they have a bias towards the condition or if they feel they garner enough experience to help you effectively. For example, if you have ADHD, you may want to find a therapist that is knowledgeable and up to date on the current research available so they can best help you. There are many controversial opinions on conditions like ADHD in the psychology field and this question can help you find one that has an understanding of your needs. 2. What is your approach to treatment with ________? Asking this question allows you the opportunity to understand the treatment approach they’re taking. Each therapist has their own opinions and ideas about treatment, therefore you want to make sure their approach is the best approach for you. This will help you understand the following: Do they use CBT? DBT? Polyvagal Theory? What’s their preference on PTSD? Do they believe in harmful therapies like ABA? Do they combine multiple approaches? Do they cater the approach to the client? Do they like to let the client in on determining the approach? Do they prefer workbooks and classes or an organic flow of conversation? 3. What is your political affiliation? This is by far one of the most important questions to ask. You want to understand if their political beliefs are in support of your rights or if they actively vote against issues that may impact you. It’s OK to outright ask this. If the individual gets angry about the question, take that as a red flag. Transparency in a therapeutic relationship is essential, and you have every right as a client to know if their values align with yours. It also helps you understand the lens through which they see the world. It’s also a huge indicator in recognizing the potential biases they may hold and how that could harm you during treatment. 4. What experience do you have working with ________ community? Different cultural backgrounds can influence the type of approach a clinician uses in therapy. This is important because it helps you gain an idea of whether or not they’re culturally competent when working with individuals in those communities. Great follow up questions include: What research do they do outside of session to garner cultural competence? Do they take diverse CEU (Continuing Education Unit) courses? Are they actively educating themselves on the issues the members of these communities face? If so, what resources are they using? Are they reading books and research studies by members of these communities? For Example If an individual is in an interracial relationship and they’re pursuing couples therapy with their partner, it could potentially be harmful for the clinician to utilize the exact same treatment approach they use with couples of the same race. This is due to the fact that different races or ethnic backgrounds have different boundaries, beliefs or communication styles. Many individuals in interracial relationships also face discrimination and harsh criticism from external members of their community. This creates more stress in the relationship. A clinician that’s experienced in working with interracial relationships will be aware of these things and can modify their therapeutic approach to include these factors. 5. What efforts are you making to decolonize your practice? Britannica dictionary defines decolonization as the process by which colonies become independent of the colonizing country. Ensuring that your therapist is making efforts to decolonize is imperative. Most of the research conducted in psychology has been conducted on straight, white, heterosexual, cisgendered men. This is problematic because many of the treatment modalities pushed in the psychology field are biased towards that specific population. That means that these treatment approaches are not taking into account the barriers and struggles that individuals of a different race, ethnic group, cultural background, sexuality, religious background, or gender identity are facing. Take, for instance, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It’s a favored treatment modality among clinicians. The goal of CBT is to help the individual reframe or change negative thought patterns. For a straight, white, cisgendered, heterosexual man, this makes sense, but someone who faces discrimination regularly may be harmed by this approach. Black and brown individuals cannot “reframe” their negative thoughts about fearing for their lives. Women and femme presenting individuals cannot “reframe” their thoughts of panic when walking home at night. This is their reality and it’s something they encounter every single day. Asking them to reframe these thoughts could be a form of gaslighting on the therapist’s part. If your therapist cannot come up with an answer to this question, then it’s probably not a good fit. When Looking For A Therapist It can also be helpful to search “( insert community/group you’re a part of here) therapist” to help you find individuals who have expertise in these areas and who have similar beliefs or experiences that you do. Example: LGBTQ+ Therapist, Muslim Therapist, Latina Therapist, Neurodivergent Therapist, Therapist that works with people who have chronic illness. Conclusion In conclusion, asking your therapist these important questions is completely OK. In fact, most therapists would encourage it. Therapists want to make sure that you’re receiving the best care you can possibly get and most know that they might not be the individual to provide that to you. It’s a part of the job and it helps ensure you receive the care you need.

Community Voices


6 people are talking about this
Community Voices


5 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Don't know what to say to my therapist #Anxiety #Talking #Anxiety #Epilepsy #Therapist

When I'm talking with other people I often struggle to come up with words and really have to think (a result of my seizures and brain surgery). Its even worse if my anxiety is high, and I also struggle to focus. I will look around and try to grasp onto something to look at as I come up with words. Looking at the person I'm talking to doesn't help. Today I had a therapy appointment on-line with the therapist I've been seeing for years (they are on-line now that I can't drive). We were talking about something hard for me and my anxiety was very high. I looked everywhere but at the computer. She got angry and told me I was being disrespectful to her. I didn't mean to be. The rest of the appointment I tried hard to look at the computer. And I cried, a lot. At one point she asked what I was thinking and I said I didn't know the right words. It was like she forgot about that. The rest of the day (and now night) it's been on my mind. Im extremely upset with myself. I wasn't doing anything I haven't always done. Has she thought I was disrespectful this whole time?. Did I do something wrong? Should i say (write) anything or just let it go?

14 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Mental & Physical Health

<p>Mental & Physical Health</p>
2 people are talking about this
Community Voices

I need help.

Hello, everyone. I hope you all are doing good.
This is a long post but please read it if you can.
I've been inactive here for more than a year now. Due to my mental illness, I was not able to keep up with things. Personally, and Socially. I need some advice and if anyone could help, that woul be great.
I have completed my graduation and I'm about to complete B.Ed (Bachelor of Education), this is a degree that you need to have in order to go into the academic field. I want to become a professor. On fourth of July I'll complete my B.Ed and then I'll be eligible to teach in school upto class 8th as I have done only undergraduation and not postgraduation. After completing undergraduation and B.Ed, one is eligible to teach in schools upto class 8th in India, and if you have completed your postgraduation, then you're eligible to teach upto class 12th.
But the thing is I want to be a college teacher (a professor) and for that I have to do M.A. (postgraduation) and then clear NET (National Eligibility Test) and after that I'll be eligible to teach in colleges. But I have to give an entrance exam to study M.A. and I was not able to prepare for it at all due to my increasing mental health issues. And now I've my entrance exam some time in August, most probably. And I can't prepare all of it in such a short duration of time. If I'm not able to clear the entrance exam this time, I want to take a drop year and study for the entrance and then give it again. But my parents are not supporting this decision. They are saying that if I clear my entrance exam this time, then I can study from Delhi. Otherwise, I can study from Raipur, Chhattisgarh. I've done my undergraduation from University of Delhi, and now I want to do my postgraduation from JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University). Both these universities are the top most universities of India and after having the experience of University of Delhi, I want to get an experience of JNU. I've set my level according to that. And studying from Raipur, Chhattisgarh (where I live currently) is not appealing to me at all. The level of education over here is not as good as Delhi not is the environment.
But my parents want me to get a job as well and their suggestion is that I apply for a job at a school and then do my M.A. simultaneously. But I don't want this. I want to do my M.A. properly, clear NET and then become a professor. My school teachers are also suggesting me to apply for a job at a school.
All this is very confusing. My aim was fixed but due to all this I'm having multiple doubts. This is increasing my mental health issues a lot. I have depression and anxiety disorder and my self-esteem is becoming low day by day. It's getting worse with time and with so much pressure and confusion. If anyone of you can suggest as to what I should do, then please suggest, it would be of great help.
Please tell me from the options below:
1.) I should take a drop year if I don't clear my entrance exam this time. And then give it again next year. (The entrance exam is for University of Delhi and JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University)
2.) I should apply for a job at a school and then do my M.A. from Raipur, Chhattisgarh.
3.) I should do my M.A. from Raipur, Chhattisgarh. Then clear NET and then apply for a job at a college.
Or any other suggestion that you want to give apart from the ones mentioned above.
Please help me.

#MentalHealth #Depression #Anxiety #ClinicalDepression #Addiction #GettingHelp #MentalHealthAwareness #Selfharm #InsideTheMighty #ChronicDepression #ChronicAnxiety #ChronicIllness #CognitiveBehaviorTherapy #Therapy #Therapist #Psychiatrist #PTSD #Suicide #Depression #SuicidalThoughts

4 people are talking about this
Community Voices

I am type 1 bipolar. I was on abilify for several years. I stopped taking it about a year ago I guess. I didn’t feel s difference.

Currently I am struggling with depression. I’m doing a good job pretending to be fine, but I know I am not. I feel numb. I hate my job. I’m
Always tired. Completely unmotivated to do anything.
Even things I used to love doing. If I didn’t have to leave my house I wouldn’t.

How do I get out of this? It’s affecting my marriage. It’s effecting my relationships with friends, the few I have left, and family.

Everything is hard. How can I be numb and in pain at the same time?

Community Voices

Idk what to do

CW: selfharm

So, over the last 3ish months I’ve relapsed with selfharm 5-6ish times, the last time being a week ago today. Which was also the morning of my therapy appointment for the week, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell her in session so I sent her a message afterwards telling her I relapsed again. And so today was the session after that and of course she brought it up which is fine. But idk she’s normally so good at understanding where I’m coming from and making things relatable, etc. but I kinda feel like we’re speaking different dialects of the same language. It’s like she’s 100% focused on stopping any future relapses, whereas I… don’t really care at this point. Sure there’s this tiny part of me that cares and my therapist wants me to put more focus on the part that does care which I get. But just, I don’t like the way she framed everything and idk how to communicate that to her.

She really is a great therapist, and we’ve worked so well together on other things that like I know this is just a bump in the road, but like, idk what to do. Todays session didn’t go well in my mind and now all I want to do is cancel my next session and stop talking to her about my selfharm altogether. I know that’s not the right way to handle this, but the thought is really tempting right now. I hate complicated emotions and todays session has brought up a lot and I’m honestly just so done.

#Selfharm #Selfinjury #Relapse #Depression #Anxiety #CheckInWithMe #Therapy #Therapist #ADHD #misunderstood #DBT #Emotions

2 people are talking about this
Community Voices

I spent HOURS yesterday and today looking for a therapist and a doctor. I thought I'd found a therapist who just might work for me. If what his description said, he'd be almost perfect. I was looking for a woman, but decided he might be great for me. I just got an email a little bit ago saying he's not taking new patients. I am feeling so upset, because I really want someone I can talk to confidentially!

Even the doctors I went through (about 12 pages, plus some recommendations!) weren't fruitful. Now I have to wait until Monday. I don't know how to explain what I'm feeling. I always feel sick and hopeless. Even when I get myself to go through hours of listings, they all tell me they're not taking new patients (even if their profiles say otherwise), they're retired, they moved, etc.

This isn't the first time I've tried! I've spent hours, even over several days, several times!

And I have to be looking at apartments, but I want my freedom! I don't even know if I can function on my own! I peed the bed this morning! They had us move from one motel room to another while they renovate, and now, three days later, we have to move back! The bathroom renovations make things even more difficult for me! The shower floor is slippery, too. This is so hard!

6 people are talking about this