I have often heard people share - "how do I find myself the right psychotherapist?" or "What do I ask in my first session?"
Here are a few things you might want to check before booking yourself for a psychotherapy session and information you might want to know.
Check for Qualifications - If you want to seek support, please consult a Clinical Psychologist. In India, a Clinical Psychologist is a registered psychotherapist with the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) who has obtained an M.Phil in Clinical Psychology. For medical treatment, you can consult a Psychiatrist (who has pursued MBBS).
Read about them and their work - You can always check the professional profiles and affiliations of your psychotherapist. Read about the publications and research interest, authored book, written in a magazine. All of this will help you identify areas of their interest.
Ask about their experience - You can always read and ask your psychotherapist about their previous experience with a particular diagnosis, specific symptoms, and situations. It will help you seek assurance and trust in them.
Enquire about the training - Check with your psychotherapist about the psychological paradigm - What psychotherapy interventions are they trained in and use? Read about that intervention and become informed.
Ask for Supervision & Referral - As medical doctors have a team of doctors in a hospital, psychotherapists use a similar concept. A supervisor facilitates the psychotherapy sessions of a psychotherapist like a mentor. Feel free to ask your therapist if they provide referrals as and when need be.
Check for ER and availability - It is good to note your psychotherapist's availability and working hours. If you have or know someone who has experienced emergencies, then ask for the protocol in advance.
Confidentiality - You should be psycho-educated or informed about the confidentiality clause in psychotherapy. However, ask questions and throw situations at them to allow you to feel safe in the therapeutic setting.
These are a few suggestions. Please note, psychotherapists have unique ways of working. The sessions are structured and goal-oriented. Still, give yourself and your new therapist some time before you begin to find a new one!
There is no right or wrong psychotherapist. They all create their way of working!