Questions to Ask a Counselling Therapist
If you are looking for a Registered Counselling Therapist, or are trying to decide if a particular counselling therapist will be a good fit for you, this page will help you make informed decisions.
The most important initial step in finding a counselling therapist is to confirm that they are registered with the provincial regulator (NSCCT) and currently licensed to practice counselling therapy in Nova Scotia. Licensing status (including disciplinary history) can easily be confirmed by searching the Directory or by clicking License Status Check on the Home Page of this website.
Here are some practical questions you can ask when you first speak with a Registered Counselling Therapist:
- What should I expect on my first visit?
- How long will my appointment be?
- How much will it cost? And how will I need to pay? Do you accept my health insurance? Is your service covered by the Nova Scotia Provincial Health Insurance?
- When can I schedule a session (mornings, afternoons, evenings, weekends)?
- What happens if I miss a session?
- Can I contact you using email or text? Can I contact you outside regular business hours?
- Will you make notes during our sessions? What happens to the notes?
- Is everything I tell you confidential? How can I be assured of that?
- What can I do if I have a complaint or concern about the services you provide?
When you are looking for a Registered Counselling Therapist, it is helpful to learn if the counselling therapist and the type of counselling therapy they offer will suit you and your needs. Asking direct questions allows you to understand what to expect from counselling therapy and how it might be effective for you.
Here are some questions that might help you decide if a particular Registered Counselling Therapist is the right fit for you:
- What type of counselling therapy do you provide?
- I am here because ______________, and I’m having trouble with _______________. Do you have training and experience working with clients with issues like mine?
- I’m from a ______________ (e.g., ethnic, racial, gender or other community). How do I know you’re going to understand my perspective and where I’m coming from?
- Do you see clients for short-term or long-term counselling therapy?
- Some counselling therapists work by addressing the immediate problem, while others seem to focus on deeper issues and past events. Which approach do you use?
A Registered Counselling Therapist follows professional practice standards and a code of ethics so you can be assured that you can explore areas that may feel challenging in a confidential setting where there are clear professional boundaries. A Registered Counselling Therapist will understand if you choose to meet with different counselling therapists in order to find the care provider who is the best fit for you.
Here are some questions that might help you decide whether to continue to see a particular Registered Counselling Therapist:
- Do you have a limit to the number of appointments I can have?
- How will I know counselling therapy is working for me?
- What happens if this counselling therapy doesn’t seem to be working?
- How do I end counselling therapy if I feel that I have worked through my issue or that counselling therapy is not working?
Remember to check the license status of your counselling therapist before your first appointment. If their name does not appear in the NSSCT registry, they are not licensed to practice counselling therapy in Nova Scotia.