Annette Nay, PhD

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How to Shop for a Therapist
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright © 2001

Look for a counselor or therapist who:

  • Matches your religious background and beliefs.
  • Has at least a Master's Degree in Counseling or Psychology.
  • Find one that specializes in your problem.
  • Check the state licensing of counselors to see if there have been any complaints.
  • Ask how long the therapy typically takes and why?
  • Get a treatment plan with an overview/ explanation of the therapies that will be used and why.
  • Due to your problem or your feelings; make the best choice in the sex of the therapist.
  • Make sure there is good personality match.
  • The therapist seems trustworthy.
  • Find out what the price is of the session and how much of it will your insurance cover?


  • The counselor must inform you of the kind of treatment you of the treatment she offers, the potential risks, the estimated length of treatment, and reasonable results that can be expected.
  • You have the right to a second opinion.
  • You have the right to stop counseling at any time, for any reason unless it is court ordered. Then there needs to be a petition to the court to stop it.
  • You have the right to ask for a different method of therapy to be tried and the right to seek out a credible counselor that can do it appropriately.
  • After the appropriate signatures have been given for the release of your records.
  • The person or persons who are being allowed to see the records have the right to the release of those records in a timely manner from the agency or counselor possessing them.
  • When confidentiality cannot be adhered to (limits of confidentiality; e.g., if a client uses insurance to pay for therapy, s/he forgoes client privilege communication or if there is suspected or reported child abuse or elder abuse).
  • Frequency, duration, and the probable length of treatment.
  • Any particular agency procedure and/or policies (e.g., maximum number of sessions a client may be seen).
  • The role of the person who is providing therapy and his or her professional qualifications (e. g., a Professional Disclosure Statement).
  • Therapist expectations of the client's role during the therapeutic relationship
  • S/He should give you a statement that any questions about the procedures will be answered at anytime.
  • If a therapist makes a sexual overture to you, you must turn him/her into the state licensing agency.
  • If a therapist causes injury to you in someway, s/he must make restitution for the damage.


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