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    I got a new psychologist
    AndieGirl posted:
    I called around this morning looking for a female psychologist & found someone who takes my insurance. My 1st appt with her is next Tuesday at 4 pm. My question to you all is: what kind of things should I ask her to make sure I've found the right person for me? More than anything, I don't want someone who is going to hurt me, but of coarse, I want someone who can help, too. I had a VERY BAD experience with a counselor in my past. I know she's not a counselor, but that doesn't mean she won't hurt me.

    I feel like I need to do some interviewing her during the 1st session. I just found her in the phone book & don't know anything about her.

    MissCaptainKirk responded:
    I guess the kind of questions you need to ask depend a lot on how your first counselor hurt you. I have a friend who also went to a counselor that ddi more harm than help. I don't know how these people stay in business.

    Perhaps rather than interview her, you should tell her your story and why you are there, and let her respond. If she's always interrupting or seems rude or abrasive, you'll know right away she isn't for you. If she responds in a good way, then ask about her method of treatment and see if it agrees with you.

    They say you should go at least three times before finally deciding whether the doctor is right for you.

    I hope it goes well for you.
    Patricia Farrell, PhD responded:
    You are absolutely right; you do have to interview her and find out if she has the experience and if you will feel comfortable working with her. Advertisements in the phone book provide nothing more than the fact that someone bought an ad.

    I provided a chapter in my book, How to Be Your Own Therapist, which details all of the things that would be useful for you when looking for a new psychologist. I've also provided a page on my website,, entitled Therapy where I have also included information which would be useful to you. At the end of this reply I have provided a link to this page so that you may review this material.

    There are many things which you want to be sure of and they include the fact that she is a licensed psychologist, experienced in working with persons who have your problem, has been trained at a highly qualified college or university and has had sufficient experience at this point. Of course, the most important two things are that she be licensed as a psychologist in your state and that you feel comfortable with her. At the first session you can explain that you believe this will be somewhat exploratory to see if the two of you can work together and if you agree that she would be the person for you. It is really an evaluation or consultation session, not a therapy session. You will want to know how she writes her treatment plans and how you will work on that treatment plan. This is crucial.

    I hope that things do work out very well and that this might be a suitable psychologist for you.

    Therapy page on Dr. Farrell's website
    phlplym01 replied to MissCaptainKirk's response:
    I think the reply about relating what happened with the previous counselor is an excellent idea. I might suggest asking the therapist about ideas for planning treatment. For example, "Given what I've mentioned about my prior experience with a counselor, are you willing to draw up & review with me your plan for treatment, including a description of the various steps involved, without my having to wait a substantial time before you are confident on how you'd like to proceed?"

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