Making the Initial Consultation Work for You
Finding the right therapist for you can be extremely overwhelming. I have both searched for therapists and been the therapist and it can be hard to find that “therapeutic spark.” However, once you do find it, you know you are working with the person who just gets you and is invested in helping support you. It’s a really cool feeling! The best way I have found to get you to the right therapist with the least amount of time and money spent is by utilizing an initial consultation.
As mentioned at the end of Blog #3 What Is Infertility Counseling and Do I Need It?, you can find a list of therapists through your doctor’s office, asking friends for recommendations, your insurance company, by googling “therapists near me” or look on therapist search engines such as www.psychologytoday.com where you can sort your search by specialties. So once you have the names of some prospective therapists, these are the next steps…
Set Up An Initial Consultation:
Most therapists offer a free consultation either over the phone or by scheduling a short meeting in their office. Consultations run about 10-20 minutes long. This is time for you to share and ask all the stuff you want to know (keep reading for suggestions). At the end of the consultation both client and therapist need to feel like they are a good fit to work with each other. If you aren’t feeling that “this person gets me” spark it is perfectly acceptable to just say “thank you for the information, have a nice day” or “I’ll be in touch.” You can wait and think about it, you can talk to other therapists, you can even ask if the therapist has referrals for you. Or if it feels like a good conversation go ahead and schedule. You are on your way!
Ask Practical Stuff:
Fees, availability, location etc. Ask the basic stuff first because it doesn’t matter how awesome the therapist is, if they are totally out of your price range or don’t have availability when you are free, then you can get off the phone and call the next name on your list. There are plenty of truly fantastic therapists out there, so no need to create more stress for yourself by trying to rearrange your life to get into see the first person you talk to if all the practical stuff isn’t aligning.
Do You Have Experience With My Stuff?
The field of infertility is quite broad, so it may be helpful to know if the therapist has experience in the area that you are exploring. Secondary infertility, LGBTQ fertility, usage of donor egg/sperm/embryo, adoption etc. Hopefully the answer is “yes,” they have treated clients with that issue, but if it is a “no” that isn’t necessarily a deal breaker. Part of what you are looking for is how they talk about your sensitive matter. Are they transparent, empathetic and curious? Or are they caught off guard, shocked or judgmental? Finding someone that you feel comfortable talking with is the goal. And if they don’t have expertise in your particular area it is their ethical responsibility to go get it!
What Stuff Do You Need To Qualify As An “Infertility Therapist”?
Counseling clients dealing with fertility issues does not require a specific license or certification based on Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (the big entity that oversees licensing for Colorado counselors). However, therapists can (and should!) seek out additional training in that field. Therapists providing infertility counseling should also join groups geared toward providing professionals with education on infertility, as well as an opportunity to network and consult with each other.
I am a member of the nonprofit national organization Resolve (we are not affiliated with each other despite having the same name! Coincidence? Fate? Life’s little sense of humor? I’ll let you be the judge:) I am also a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)- and have taken courses from them regarding counseling clients with infertility. On top of a ton of personal research and years of experience wading through the murky waters of infertility!
If You Want To Know More Stuff:
If you are wanting to know more from the prospective counselor consider asking some of the following questions. Again, you are considering both the answer, how the therapist is responding to your questions and how you are feeling during the conversation. I remember a strong sense of relief the very first time I spoke with my first therapist on the phone, I just felt like he got me. It’s that feeling that kept me coming back and that helped me get so much out of our time together.
What brought you to this line of work?
How would you describe your therapeutic approach?
How long have you been doing this?
What should I expect when receiving counseling from you?
Do you have referrals for me to see other professionals in the community (massage therapists, acupuncturists etc)
What can I start doing NOW to feel better?
Do you have resources for me to look into?
Finding the right therapist for you can be daunting and time consuming, but using the initial consultation to weed through people to find the right therapist for you is totally possible and completely worth it. Don’t be deterred! They are out there, and can help you start to feel better! If you would like to set up an initial consultation with me please fill out the contact form on my website and mention some good times that you are available by phone.
Wishing you peace, patience, and positive therapeutic connections!