Have you found yourself in this situation: you’ve decided to visit a therapist and found a couple you’d like to reach out to, but once you sit down to contact them, you have no idea what to say? What are the right therapist questions anyway? We’re here to help you learn how to reach out to a therapist effectively! While reaching out to a therapist can cause anxiety, it’s helpful to know that you don’t need to get into any nitty-gritty details right off the bat. Simply let them know you’re seeking a therapist and go over some very basic details.
Read on for a breakdown of what you should cover in your initial outreach to a therapist, as well as a template you can use as a guide!
How To Reach Out to a Therapist
This may seem simple, but figuring out how to address a therapist can be stressful! In general, “Hi, [First Name]” or “Hi, Dr. [Last Name]” if they’re a doctor, will be perfectly acceptable, especially if you are unsure of the therapist’s pronouns.
Where to start…
OK, you’re past the greeting…now how do you begin? This one’s easy–tell them why you’re reaching out. Simply say, “I am interested in starting therapy.” Straightforward and to the point–the theme of this entire blog post!
Many times therapists will note on their website if they are accepting new clients or not, but it’s always a good idea to confirm. You will also want to ask what availability they have for sessions to make sure your schedules are compatible.
Describe what you need help with, but keep it brief
There will be time later to go into specifics, but in your initial email to a therapist, a simple sentence or two about what you’d like to address in therapy is sufficient. Some examples include:
- I struggle with anxiety and it’s affecting my daily life.
- I experienced a traumatic event and need help processing it.
- My partner and I are going through a divorce and would like for our child to talk to someone about it.
Request a phone consultation
A therapist can go more in-depth in a live phone conversation than via email. A phone consultation is not a therapy session, but a 10-to-15-minute introductory conversation where, generally, the therapist will ask questions to gain a better understanding of the concerns you’d like to address, give you an idea of their therapeutic approach, and discuss logistical details about cost and scheduling. This is also a chance to ask any questions you have for the therapist.
While phone consultations are a great place to learn more about your therapist’s philosophy and therapeutic approach, if the therapist doesn’t provide consultations or if you get nervous when talking on the phone, ask in your initial outreach! Therapist questions could include:
- What is a typical session with you like?
- How should I prepare for my initial session?
- What is my role as a parent during my child’s therapy sessions?
Asking about cost
You can ask about cost in your initial email or during the therapist consultation. Therapist questions could include:
- Do you take XYZ insurance?
- If I pay out-of-pocket, how much is a single session?
- Do you provide a sliding scale rate?
Ask about next steps and indicate how they can reach you…and that’s it! You’re done!
Email vs. Phone Call
The above tips can be used whether you choose to call or email a therapist. If you call, it is most likely that you will have to leave a voicemail or speak to a receptionist. In both cases, the basic structure of the communication remains the same: say why you’re calling, confirm availability, give a brief description of issues, ask for a phone consultation, then ask for follow up to discuss next steps (don’t forget to leave a call back number!). You may hold off on asking questions about therapy style, etc., until you can communicate with the therapist directly.
I am interested in starting therapy. I was curious if you are taking on new clients and what your availability is. I am seeking therapy because [one to two sentences about what you would like to address]. Could we set up a phone consultation to discuss more in depth?
I was also wondering [any questions you have for the therapist about logistics, therapy style, cost, etc.].
Please let me know next steps. [Leave a call back number if applicable.]
How RightFit can help
RightFit allows you to select therapists that you’d like to contact and compose one email that will be sent–individually, privately, and securely–to them at once. We even provide questions you may want to include in your email in case you get stuck. By making the process quick and seamless, we hope to alleviate anxiety around the process of finding a therapist and to connect you with the right therapist for you so you can get started on your mental health journey.