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What to Expect at Your First Therapy Consultation

Updated: 6 days ago

If you are new to therapy, your first therapy consultation may feel daunting. You may not know exactly what to expect from this consultation. You may be wondering what a Bee Kind Counselling mental health professional will ask you or what you have to share. Preparing questions to ask your potential therapist may also be at the top of your mind. 

Not to worry! The initial therapy session is usually a very basic conversation. It is not when you have to dive into your deepest traumas with a total stranger. That may take some time to get there. This is normal.  

The consultation's main goal is for you and your potential therapist to get to know each other a bit more and see if you are a good fit to work together. It is not a space for you to be analyzed but rather to start to build a strong therapeutic alliance, which is an important component of success in therapy. 

If you don’t know what you want to talk about before you go to the consultation, a mental health professional will also guide you through the conversation.

A mental health professional's job is to make sure you feel comfortable enough to work with them should you decide to continue with Bee Kind Counselling for therapy after your consultation. 

If you are feeling anxious about the first consultation, this is normal. You are human. You may need something to guide you.

Bee Kind Counselling has put together a guide with more about the initial therapy consultation, what to expect, what questions or topics you may go through, what a mental health professional may ask during your consultation, and what you can ask a mental health professional. 

What is a Therapy Consultation?

Most mental health professionals will offer you a free conversation (also known as a consultation) to determine if you are a good fit to work together. 

Research shows that the most important component of the success of therapy is the therapeutic alliance.

A therapeutic alliance is the relationship between the mental health professional and the client. It involves mutual respect, understanding, and trust in one another to work towards the client's goals and self-discovery journey. 

A consultation is therefore an important initial step to determining if the therapist and you can build a strong therapeutic alliance to work towards your goals in therapy. It is a good thing to find a therapist who offers a free consultation to explore this. 

At Bee Kind Counselling, they offer a free 15-minute consultation for you to see if you're a good fit to work with each other. 

Think of this initial consultation as a casual conversation. Bee Kind Counselling will learn why you are here, what you are looking for, and how they could help you. You will learn about Bee Kind Counselling as well. You can ask as many or as few questions as you are comfortable with. 

This is your time to find out if you can continue therapy with this professional. This meeting will typically be by phone.

When this consultation is done, you should have an idea of who this therapist is, how they could help you, and how you can begin your therapy journey (if you wish to). 

What Will the Therapist Discuss?

The thought of a mental health professional asking you a million and one questions may be anxiety-inducing. 

Although this is not an exhaustive list, Bee Kind Counselling aims to reduce this anxiety by providing as much information as possible about your initial consultation. 

Some potential topics that your therapist may discuss include:

  • Confidentiality and limits to confidentiality

  • Privacy 

  • Boundaries

  • Insurance/Fees

  • Potential waiting list

  • How frequently you may meet

  • Goals of therapy

  • Length of therapy

  • Their modalities and expertise

  • Potential need for referrals to outside sources

In terms of the length, frequency of therapy, and goals, this is where your therapist and you will work collaboratively to see what works best for your individual needs. Most clients start with weekly sessions but you may feel you need more or less frequent sessions and this is okay. 

Your prospective therapist will ask you about your goals and what you need help with. If your needs are beyond their scope of practice, this is where the discussion of a referral to an outside source could come in. 

Any ethical mental health professional will refer you out when they cannot meet your needs. They are required to by law. Do not feel discouraged, as we will refer you to someone else who can meet your needs. 

What Questions Will the Therapist Ask Me?

Your consultation will usually involve the mental health professional asking you some questions to get to know you better.

If you feel confused by a question or you are uncomfortable answering a question, it is okay to ask the therapist for clarity or to ask that the question be skipped at the moment or altogether. 

There are no set of questions that are universal for consultations and the questions may vary based on your age, and what brought you into therapy. 

In the general sense, here are some possible questions that you may be asked:

  • What brings you to therapy?

  • Have you been to therapy before?

  • Why would you be interested in working with me?

  • What are you looking for in a therapist?

  • What modalities have helped you in the past?

  • Are you aware of any therapy modalities?

  • Do you have a formal diagnosis?

  • What is your budget for therapy?

  • Can you afford our regular rates or may you need a sliding scale?

  • Do you understand the limits of confidentiality?

  • What are your goals for therapy?

  • How often do you wish to meet?

  • Have you been experiencing suicidal thoughts? If so, could you describe your thoughts?

  • Do you have supportive people in your life?

  • Do you have someone who could be an emergency contact during our sessions?

  • What are your strengths? Weaknesses or areas you want to improve on?

  • How have you currently been coping?

In terms of asking you about your diagnosis and history of suicidality, the goal of these questions is for the therapist to determine if they can work with you or if your needs are beyond the scope of their practice. Some therapists do not have experience in certain areas and may need to refer you out. 

It is important to be honest with your potential therapist with all of these questions, so they can make sure you are getting the proper care for your needs. 

What Questions Should I Ask a Therapist?

In addition to your prospective therapist asking you questions, your initial consultation is the chance for you to also spend time asking the mental health professional questions to determine if they are the right fit for you. 

The process of determining if there is a strong therapeutic alliance is a collaborative effort. You can ask as many or as few questions as you are comfortable with. 

Here are some questions you could ask your prospective therapist:

  • Can you tell me more about your practice?

  • What issues/disorders are you trained in?

  • What modalities do you use?

  • Where did you receive your training? What modalities?

  • Are my sessions with you confidential?

  • When would you have to break confidentiality?

  • Do you have experience treating clients with similar conditions to mine?

  • What degree do you hold?

  • Where are you licensed to practice?

  • Do you offer any group therapy on top of 1-1 therapy?

  • Will our sessions be held by phone or video or in-person?

  • What approaches do you use in therapy?

  • How often should I plan to meet with you?

  • How many sessions do you believe it will take to reach my goals?

  • What are your session fees?

  • How will I know if we are a good fit?

  • Do you accept insurance?

  • Do you currently have a waitlist? If so, how long?

  • Do you believe in a person-centered approach to therapy?

  • How will I know if our time together is working?

  • Do you think you can support me or do you need to refer out?

  • Do you operate from a social justice framework?

  • Are you comfortable discussing systems of oppression, such as racism, sexism, and LGBTQ+ phobia?

  • Have you worked with clients of my background before?

  • What is your definition of a trauma-informed framework?

  • How would you describe what an anti-oppressive lens is?

Book a Free Consultation with Bee Kind Counselling

If you want to start your journey in therapy and you feel like Bee Kind Counselling may be a potential fit for you, you can book a free 15-minute consultation by emailing, calling 519-757-7842 ext. 1 or booking on the website below.

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