Five Questions to ask when Interviewing a Therapist in Gold River, CA

With the wealth of therapy and counseling services offered in and around Gold River, CA, finding the right therapist for you can be an overwhelming process!  Where do you begin?

I’ve heard from many people that the process of choosing a therapist is so daunting they end up just picking a name to call and setting an appointment with the first person that answers the phone.

Most people don’t look into therapy when they are feeling good and life is going smooth. By the time you start looking for a therapist you’re in emotional pain, struggling with an aspect of your life, your interactions, or your mental health. You are most likely looking for immediate relief and will talk to anyone who can help.

This can work; sometimes you may luck out and find the perfect therapist this way. In general, however, it takes a bit more than luck of the draw to find the right fit. The most important aspect of therapy being successful is that there is a good fit between you and your therapist.

By taking the time to interview, ask questions and find someone who matches you best, you increase the chances that you will be successful in therapy. You’re worth taking the time for!

Here are some helpful questions to ask when looking for a therapist to help you with something specific, such as trauma:

“I would like help dealing with some trauma I went through, is this something you work with?”

  • Ask what areas the therapist specializes in. Ask how they became interested in trauma work.

  • Find out how frequently they work with clients who have experienced trauma, what percentage of their caseload is currently addressing trauma issues.  

  • There are various kinds of trauma (combat related, early childhood abuse, and DV just to name a few). The therapist should be comfortable helping you with the specific issues that are bringing you in.

“What kinds of training and clinical experience do you have working with trauma?”

  • Ask about what degrees and licenses the therapist has. In California there are many different licenses that provide talk therapy (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Clinical Psychologist).

  • Ask what additional trainings they have completed around trauma.

  • Ask if there are other ways of treating trauma that they don’t offer. There are a multitude of different trauma techniques (Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Somatic Experiencing). All these techniques are effective and can be helpful. Take some time to learn about them and find a therapist who has that specialty. The therapist you are interviewing should be able to explain why they use one method over another.

“How often will we meet?”

  • Ask how frequently this therapist typically works with their clients. You may have an idea about how often you would like to meet (weekly, every other week, monthly). Check that they can accommodate your needs (e.g. if you would like weekly sessions but they are so booked they can only see you monthly that may not be a good fit).

“How many sessions do you think I’ll need?”

  • Ask what the general range of counseling sessions you can expect when you start therapy, although this will vary depending on what is bringing you into counseling.  Trauma work typically takes longer than learning communication skills or building skills to manage a specific phobia. Your therapist should be able to explain the general process of therapy and how long it takes.

“What do you charge?”

  • Ask what the therapist’s rates are and discuss how therapy can provide significant value to your life. Therapy is an investment into your health (emotional and physical), into your relationships, and into your future.

  • Ask if they accept health insurance and discuss the pros/cons of using health insurance.

  • If the full-fee rate is out of your budget range, ask if they have a sliding-scale or could refer you to another therapist that offers sliding-scale.

Make sure it feels right!

Finally, be sure to make sure it feels comfortable for you to talk with this counselor. Remember, the fit between you and your therapist is the most important aspect for therapy being effective. You have to feel comfortable, trust your counselor, and in general like them for therapy to work.  Consider these questions: Does the therapist take time to talk with you or do you feel rushed and pressured? Did you feel like you could share what’s bringing you into therapy without feeling judged?

Finding the right therapist is like finding an amazing pair of shoes, take your time to find the perfect fit!

I hope this list gives you a starting point for interviewing therapists in the Gold River, CA area. If you are still feeling stuck with finding the right therapist give me a call at 916-547-3997. I’d be happy to hear what’s going on and help direct you to the right person.


Adriana Joyner, LMFT is a Sacramento Area therapist who specializes in providing counseling to people healing from trauma and abuse, and gender support for those within the LGBTQIA community. Her office is located in Gold River, CA located off Highway 50 at Sunrise Blvd.  For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call (916) 547-3997 or email