It always surprises me that people rarely ask questions when they start therapy. I cover all the legal and administrative issues as you'd expect. I also like to get an idea of what people's expectations are. People seem comfortable with that. It's expected that I ask the questions.
Yet embarking on a therapeutic relationship is not an insignificant matter. I wouldn't allow a surgeon to operate without asking about his or her experience with my particular situation and outcomes achieved. Why should a therapist be any different? A good therapist-patient fit is essential. Therapists are not 'one size fits all' and sometimes it may be necessary to 'trial' a couple before finding one that feels right. Asking some of these questions (as appropriate) at your initial session may be all you need to gauge suitability.
What are your qualifications?
You wouldn't hire an electrician to plumb your bathroom, would you?
What professional body do you belong to?
Membership of a professional body usually requires attainment of a certain level of proficiency/ training.
How long have you been practicing?
Can demonstrate both experience and stability in the profession.
Do you have regular supervision?
Deminstrates ongoing commitment to personal development.
What kind of therapy do you practice?
Important to have some understanding of what to expect or to know if the therapist practices a modality that you personally do not feel comfortable with.
What experience do you have with my particular presentation?
What outcomes have you experienced?
You need to know you're getting someone experienced for your particular issue.
Have you ever been in therapy yourself?
It can be beneficial to know that your therapist has experienced being a patient. A good therapist will be happy to be open (to a certain degree) about personal experience in therapy.
What do you think? As a client, any questions you'd like to ask but don't? Why? As a therapist, what do you feel about these questions?