Looking for a Therapist? 3 Questions to Ask

Considering therapy or counseling for yourself? That's not an unusual situation for a dementia caregiver; the role places you at an elevated risk for stress and depression. Nor is "yes" a surprising -- or shameful or embarrassing -- answer. Therapists, who range from trained family counselors and social workers to mental health professionals such as psychiatrists (MDs) and psychologists, typically charge by the hour and see patients at least once a week or every other week.

Here are three things to ask a potential therapist:

1. What kind of insurance do you take? Know that most insurance plans cover some therapy costs, as do Medicare and Medicaid.

2. Do you offer a free initial meeting? Most professionals offer a free initial consultation to determine if you're a good fit for each other and you feel comfortable.

3. How do you work? Therapists use different formats for talk therapy. If you think depression might be an issue for you, ask the counselor if he or she is versed in using cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy, two specific types of counseling that are successful in treating depression.

Paula Spencer Scott

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers and much of the Alzheimer's and caregiving content on Caring. See full bio

over 2 years, said...

I think you'll find that the majority of Professional Mental Health Providers do not, in fact, offer "free" consults. The liability and ethics of that process would be questionable. However, there are many professional mental health providers who are trained and are qualified to help the caregivers. Always remember to take care of oneself, physically and mentally, in order to be the best you can be got your loved one.

over 6 years, said...

I talked with an agency that sends someone to spend time with my mom once a week and make sure she showers . I asked most of these questions and it was very helpful to receive their reassurance. I hope I never get to the point where I need a therapist, but the caregiver that comes to my home is rather like a therapist for my mom.