Good Question!

Written by: Sung Woo “Tom” Kim, M.S.
Good Question!

I’ve been asked many questions as a counselor before I start seeing somebody.

Recently I spoke with a mom who asked some great questions and inspired me to think more about what may be some good questions to ask a counselor before you or your child start seeing them.

The mom asked about my availabilities and how many more until I was reaching a waitlist. While this may not been the intention for her question, this told me about her concerns with the availabilities for on going sessions with me. Many therapists are reaching full capacity and understanding one’s availabilities may be helpful in understanding how you or your child may be scheduled for sessions. It may be important to share how frequently you or your child may want to attend counseling. If you notice the benefits of once-a-week session in addressing your concerns, this may be particularly important to ask.

She asked about how I conceptualize counseling and believe is a healthy individual. Therapists in their training are encouraged to formulate their theoretical orientation. For example, I am an Adlerian counselor. This means that my focus will be developing and strengthening the sense of belonging for my clients. I focus on helping one feel more comfortable and connected to themselves to be able to undertake new and existing challenges and build skills of resiliency. It may be important for you to ask the therapists on their theoretical framework to help guide if the therapist’s style may be a good fit for you.

Lastly, the mom asked me about my long term plan as a counselor and if I am satisfied with current place of work. I thought this was a great question as she and I talked about how important it is for her child to formulate a healthy therapeutic relationship with the counselor and does not want to risk any abandonment or sudden stop into that relationship. I informed her of my long-term plan and about my specialties. I agreed with her on the importance of that relationship and how difficult it can be to create a meaningful therapeutic relationship with a therapist and having to suddenly switch if there were unforeseen circumstances. I shared with her about my commitment to this field and how if there were to be any sudden changes, I would do my best to make recommendations for continuation for care with minimal interruptions. You should feel comfortable with therapist as they are somebody you’re trusting with potential sensitive information.

We spent some time going over her questions and getting to know each other. I admired her asking (what I imagine could be) difficult questions and helping me understand her expectations for her child’s counselor while also learning more about how I could be a potential help.

When you’re thinking of who to go for counseling. It’s normal for you to have questions, doubts, or concerns. I invite you to ask some difficult questions with your potential or current counselor!