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  • Writer's pictureNaszrin Arghoshi

"Discovering Your Match: Your Guide to the 15-Minute Consultation, Part 1"

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

If you're looking for a therapist, you've likely seen the famous tagline of "Free 15-Minute Consultation" on websites and directories. While most therapists offer this service, many people may not know the purpose and structure of this initial meeting. This article will provide you with information on what to expect from a consultation, as well as tips on how to determine if a particular therapist is a good fit for you.

What is the free 15-minute consultation?

The consultation is a free phone or video call, approximately 15 minutes, to determine if a therapist will be a good fit for you.

What can I expect during the consultation?

Consultations are usually informal and provide an opportunity for the therapist and client to get to know each other. The therapist will talk about their clinical experience, education, therapeutic style, and how they may approach treatment given your counselling goals. They will provide information on payment, insurance plans, availability, and schedules.

The therapist will also ask you questions. These questions are designed to allow the therapist to better understand your specific needs, and to provide an idea of how the two of you would work together. With the information that you provide, the therapist should help you gain a better understanding of how the therapist works and what services may be most beneficial to you. A therapist has an ethical duty to refer you to other therapists if they don’t have the skills or knowledge to work with you.

If you're wondering about what questions to ask a therapist, you're not alone!

…Check out Part 2 of this article on my blog!

Why is "fit" important?

Research has shown that the relationship between the therapist and client is one of the most important components of the therapeutic work, leading to greater treatment and success outcomes. This is why it’s so important to take advantage of the free 15-minute consultations that therapists offer. It is a great first step towards determining “fit” and assessing whether the therapist’s clinical practice matches your counselling needs. It also allows you to better understand the different services a therapist offers, gain insight into how a therapist works, and personally assess whether or not the therapist is someone you feel comfortable working with.

You may be asking, but how do I know if the therapist is a good fit?

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Tips for determining a "good fit"

It is helpful to schedule consultations with multiple therapists, allowing you to compare and contrast to determine the best fit. During the consultation, pay attention to verbal and non-verbal cues and how your therapist responds to what you are sharing. Also, be mindful of how you are feeling. A good therapist should be informative and honest, while also helping you to feel at ease with the process.

After the meeting, you will want to reflect on how the call went. Here are some questions to consider for the reflection process:

1. Do I feel comfortable with their body language and/or communication style?
2. Does the therapist actively listen and understand my perspective?
3. How comfortable did I feel opening up to this therapist? Can I be vulnerable with them moving forward
4. Did the therapist share their thoughts clearly? Am I understanding them? Did they understand me?
5. What was the conversation like? (e.g.: fluid? awkward? did they interrupt me? how much space did the therapist take up and how did that feel?)
6. Is this therapist inclusive? Do they have a good sense of Anti-Oppressive and Anti-Racist Values? Did they seem curious and/or were they making assumptions about my identity?

I hope you found this article helpful. If you are interested in finding out what kind of questions you could ask a therapist, check out Part 2 on my blog!

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