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Starting treatment can be difficult. Often, if you haven’t received mental health services before, the process can be confusing. Don’t let uncertainty hold you back from the services you need. 

Know that service providers are commonly asked dozens of questions and you can ask away until you feel comfortable. If you’re not sure what to ask, or what you should be looking for in a mental health service provider, use the questions below to guide your quest for the best treatment.

Logistical questions

How often will we meet? Most mental health professionals meet with clients once a week, but this is largely based on need. See if your practitioner is flexible to meeting more or less frequently according to your preferences (and treatment plan).

How long are the sessions? Most sessions average around an hour but check to make sure so you can schedule accordingly.

What are the costs? You’ll want to chat about whether your insurance covers services. Many agencies also have sliding scales available based on income.

What if I miss a session? Different practices have different policies regarding missed sessions- see if you can meet virtually if you’ll be out of town or if scheduling is flexible.

What if I need medication? You’ll likely be connected to a psychiatrist and work as a team to figure out medications and dosages. Talk through what this process would look like.

What should I do if I need help immediately? If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts your mental health treatment provider will likely recommend that you call 911, or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800)273-8255. For important but non-emergency situations, your provider will likely have a protocol for you to follow.

What qualifications does my therapist have? The mental health professional you are paired with for treatment will have all the credentials necessary to practice in your state, but you may be interested to know if they have any specialized training or certifications.

What measures do you take to keep my information private? Confidentiality is a big deal in the mental health community. Your comfort and openness in sessions depend on you feeling secure, so ask about what the agency has in place to protect your privacy, especially if you’re doing teletherapy.

Questions about treatment

What will treatment look like? Most practitioners operate from a specific framework and may have a structured format that forms the basis of treatment. See if your therapist follows a routine or is more free-form, and see if it jives with you.

Will I have homework? Some therapists prefer to keep the majority of the work in the office, others will assign worksheets and goal tracking to do at home.

How do I prepare for sessions? Therapy is usually client-led, so thinking about your stressors and your emotional state in preparation can make diving into a session easy, but your therapist may recommend breathing or centering exercises before the meeting, too.

Will the treatment be a majority talk therapy or do you incorporate other types of therapy? Interested in art or music therapy? Interpersonal therapy? See how your therapist can incorporate your interests into their framework.

What do you expect from me as a client? Therapy requires at least two people, and therefore a good fit means that both client and therapist are comfortable. A provider will have certain expectations of you, like general courtesy and willingness to put in the effort.

Is there anything I can do to enhance my treatment? Some clinicians will recommend mindfulness practices, books, breathing exercises and other activities that you can do on your own to support treatment. Your therapist is your best resource for finding tools that will make treatment more engaging.

How will I know if treatment is effective? Most mental health services operate using goals and objectives tailored to your mental health needs. Check in to see how goals are created and tracked, or if the service provider uses a different measure of effectiveness.

How soon will I start feeling better? Results will vary widely, but your provider may have some benchmarks they aspire for you to meet, like increased functional performance or a measurable decrease in symptoms.

How will I know when I’m done with treatment? Whether an individual terminates treatment is a case-by-case basis. Some people find that treatment that continues indefinitely is best for their mental health, others may move on after achieving mental health goals. Check with your therapist to gauge their perspective on when treatment should end.

Starting treatment

Whether you have dozens of questions or none, the most important thing is getting started. Questions will naturally arise as you progress through treatment, and your mental health treatment provider will be happy to answer them for you.

At Pyramid Family Behavioral Healthcare you’ll find the answers you need and the treatment you deserve. Call now to schedule an appointment at 678-274-4936.

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