Questions to Ask Potential Therapists.
We contacted a handful of therapists experienced with treating social anxiety disorder and asked them what questions they’d recommend asking potential therapists.
Go through the list of therapists you found (following the steps above) and ask them by phone or email the following questions:
What percentage of your clients are being treated for social anxiety disorder?
Ideally, you’d find a therapist whose specialty is social anxiety disorder, but that’s not always possible. Regardless, it’s important to find out how much experience the therapist has treating social anxiety disorder. Be persistent contacting therapists until you find one who has specifically worked with social anxiety.
What techniques do you use to treat social anxiety disorder?
Look for phrases like cognitive restructuring, systematic desensitization, exposure techniques, behavioral homework experiments, homework assignments, mindfulness practice, in-session role plays, etc.
Do you give homework assignments?
Learning to become your own therapist is one of the primary goals of cognitive-behavioral therapy and the therapy is much more effective when practiced outside just the session with your therapist. Look for a therapist who’d ask that you do perform both cognitive and behavioral homework assignments between sessions.
What percentage of your clients experience significant improvement and how do you measure that?
Ask for a rough “success rate” for their treatment of social anxiety disorder and, more importantly, how they determine this with their clients (e.g. Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale).
What special training have you received?
Do they have special training in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)? Have they been trained specifically to diagnose and treat social anxiety disorder?
Don’t get discouraged if none of the five therapists you contacted are experienced in treating social anxiety disorder. Finding a qualified therapist can take persistence. Return to the resources you used to find the first five therapists and look for five more. If possible with the channel you are searching through, specify therapists who are experienced with anxiety disorders and identify cognitive-behavioral therapy as a treatment style.