105 Questions to Ask a Therapist

Therapy—it’s a space for self-discovery, healing, and personal growth. A vital part of this process is effective communication between the client and the therapist.

Beginning therapy can be a big step that can bring about significant changes. Yet, starting this process may feel new and a little confusing, and it’s normal to feel a bit curious or even uneasy.

Whether you’re going to therapy for the first time, checking out different approaches, or wanting to make the most of your sessions, you might have some questions in mind. I have put together a list of questions that you can ask your therapist, categorized to direct your therapy toward a more fruitful, enlightening experience.

First Session Questions

  1. What can I expect from our first therapy session?
  2. How long will my therapy process likely last?
  3. What do you need to know about me for an effective therapy session?
  4. How should I prepare for each session?
  5. What are the confidentiality rules for our sessions?
  6. How often will we meet for therapy sessions?
  7. How do we start and end each session?
  8. Will there be any assignments or tasks between sessions?
  9. Can I bring up past traumas during the first session?
  10. How can I make the best out of our first session?
  11. Is there a cancellation policy in case I can’t make it to a session?
  12. Can I involve any of my family members or loved ones in a session?
  13. How open should I be during our sessions?
  14. Can I ask for clarification if I don’t understand something during our sessions?
  15. What is the goal of our first session together?

Understanding Your Journey

  1. How can I communicate my feelings, both positive and negative, towards the therapy process?
  2. How will I know if therapy is helping me?
  3. What should I do if I’m not feeling any progress or change in my situation?
  4. Can you help me understand a specific therapeutic model that we use in our sessions?
  5. What are some coping skills that I can develop during the therapy process?
  6. How can therapy help me in achieving my personal goals?
  7. What can therapy teach me about myself?
  8. How can therapy improve the quality of my relationships?
  9. Does the therapy involve an examination of past experiences?
  10. What steps will I take in the therapy journey?
  11. In what ways could my life change after therapy?
  12. Is my progress entirely dependent on therapy, or are there home exercises I can do too?
  13. Will I need support from my friends/family during this journey?
  14. How long should I expect to start seeing progress from therapy?
  15. What can I do to enhance my therapeutic experience between sessions?

Maximizing Therapy Dynamics

  1. How can I communicate more effectively on what I need or want from therapy?
  2. What can I do if I find myself resisting therapy or becoming defensive?
  3. Would it be beneficial to bring any relevant personal items to the therapy sessions?
  4. How can I handle any uncomfortable feelings that arise during our sessions?
  5. How do I approach discussing a topic I find emotionally difficult?
  6. Can I pause or change the subject if I’m uncomfortable?
  7. What should I do if I disagree with your suggestion or advice?
  8. How should I address any misunderstandings that might occur in the session?
  9. Are there ways I can document my journey through therapy?
  10. Can I change the frequency of sessions if needed?
  11. How will we handle any disagreements during therapy sessions?
  12. Can I talk about the feelings I have towards my therapist during a session?
  13. How can I acknowledge and discuss any resistance or fear I feel towards therapy?
  14. How do we address any changes in my feelings, thoughts, or behaviors noticed during therapy?
  15. What happens when I reach a point where I am unsure about the next step in therapy?

Measuring Progress

  1. How do we set goals for therapy and how are these evaluated?
  2. Are there any specific milestones I should be aware of during my therapy journey?
  3. How can I monitor my progress outside of our sessions?
  4. What does success look like in therapy?
  5. How do we adapt the therapy strategy if I am not making enough progress?
  6. Is there a way to measure the effectiveness of therapy objectively?
  7. Can we change the treatment plan if I’m not seeing the results I wished for?
  8. What is a realistic timeline for reaching my therapy goals?
  9. How can I keep myself motivated throughout the process?
  10. Can we revisit and adjust my goals as I evolve through therapy?
  11. Will there be any type of examination or testing during the therapy process?
  12. How often will we review my progress?
  13. What will happen if I don’t see immediate results?
  14. Does slower progress mean failure in therapy?
  15. What records of my progress will be kept and how can I access them?

Facilitating Personal Growth

  1. How will therapy help me understand or know myself better?
  2. What can I learn from therapy about handling stress and challenges?
  3. Can therapy help me to change particular habits or patterns?
  4. How does therapy help in my personal development?
  5. What steps can I take at home to facilitate my personal growth?
  6. Can therapy aid in my personal growth apart from addressing my specific issues?
  7. How can therapy help me build healthier relationships?
  8. What skills will I develop during therapy?
  9. Can therapy help me explore my personal values and beliefs?
  10. How can therapy assist in setting boundaries in my personal and professional life?
  11. Can therapy help in building my self-esteem and confidence?
  12. Can therapy help in addressing and improving self-defeating behaviors?
  13. Can therapy provide life skills?
  14. Can therapy assist in personal decision-making?
  15. How does therapy support my journey to self-discovery?

Therapist’s Background and Approach

  1. What is your approach to therapy and why do you choose it?
  2. Can you tell me about your training and experiences as a therapist?
  3. How does your approach help me specifically?
  4. Have you worked with people who have had similar issues as mine before?
  5. How do you keep up-to-date with new developments in your field?
  6. What influenced you to become a therapist?
  7. How do you handle feedback from your patients?
  8. Can you explain your particular theoretical approach to therapy?
  9. What is your perspective on medication vs. therapy?
  10. Do you specialize in any particular therapy technique?
  11. How flexible is your approach to different individuals and their unique needs?
  12. What is your philosophy on the duration of therapy?
  13. How do you handle crises or emergencies?
  14. How do you handle resistance or non-compliance in clients?
  15. How do you approach the process of termination or ending therapy?

Understanding Therapy Process

  1. How is the therapy process structured?
  2. Can you explain some common therapy techniques we might use?
  3. In a typical session, what is the interaction like between the therapist and the client?
  4. How much will I guide the therapeutic process, and how much will you?
  5. What types of therapy will we be using?
  6. Can therapy sessions be modified based on the client’s needs?
  7. What’s the usual duration of a therapy session and why?
  8. Can therapy evolve into different processes as it progresses?
  9. Do you offer group sessions or individual therapy only?
  10. Can you explain the rationale behind a certain therapeutic technique?
  11. What’s the balance between talking and listening in a typical therapy session?
  12. How are therapy sessions documented and who has access to these records?
  13. Is there a certain etiquette to follow in therapy sessions?
  14. Will we use any multimedia tools during the therapy process?
  15. How will we advocate for change during the therapeutic process?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you hug your therapist?

It is generally neither appropriate nor ethical for a therapist to hug a client during a therapy session. The relationship between therapist and client is a professional one, and maintaining appropriate boundaries is an important aspect of effective therapy.

Physical contact, such as a hug, may be seen as crossing these boundaries and may cause confusion or discomfort for the client. In some cases, this may even be seen as a form of sexual misconduct.

Instead of hugging, a therapist may offer verbal support, empathy, or validation to help the client feel understood and accepted. It is also important for the therapist to be open and honest with the client about any concerns or boundaries that may arise in the therapeutic relationship.

How do you choose a therapist who will be the best fit for you?

Choosing a therapist who will be the best fit for you is an important decision. Among the most important factors you should consider when choosing a therapist include their training, experience, and areas of expertise.

You may also want to consider whether their approach to therapy is consistent with your needs and goals. It can also be helpful to consider their availability and location, as well as their fees and whether they accept your insurance.

In addition, it’s important to find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable and trust. You may want to ask for recommendations from friends, relatives, or your primary care doctor, and consider meeting with a few therapists before making a decision.

Final Thoughts

Therapy is a journey, and like any journey, having the right questions can guide you along the way. The questions listed above are not just inquiries, but they are tools to ensure that your therapy process is productive and that you’re moving forward at a pace that suits you.

Remember, every question opens a door to a conversation, which can lead you to invaluable insights about yourself and your therapeutic process. Your therapist is there to help, and getting answers can only enhance your experience. So, ask away!

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Jessa Claire is a registered healthcare provider. Music lover. Daydreamer. Thalassophile. Foodie. A hardworking Capricorn. Most days, an incurable empath. An old soul. Down-to-earth. Vibrant. When she's not writing, she can be seen relaxing with headphones on or engrossed in her favorite fan fiction book.