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Choosing a Treatment Professional

A few of the questions you may want to ask before deciding to work with a particular treatment provider include:

  • What experience and/or training do you have in treating eating disorders?
  • How do you feel about incorporating medication into treatment?
  • Will my family be involved in my treatment? How?
  • If I need a higher level of care, how will that be handled?
  • Do you work with or are you affiliated with any particular treatment centers?
  • Do you offer a free initial consultation and/or a sliding scale?
  • What is your availability during emergencies?
  • Will you refer me to another professional if our work together is unproductive?
  • How do you evaluate progress in treatment?
  • Do you belong to any professional organizations focused on eating disorders?

Trust your gut. Do you feel that you will be able to share personal, delicate information with this professional? Do you feel comfortable in his or her presence? Do you feel that you and your concerns are understood?

We have asked several professionals for advice on how to go about selecting a therapist. Here’s what they had to say:

“I would encourage someone to take their time and interview potential therapists. Get a feel for who fits and who doesn’t. While this process will expand your understanding of what a therapist can provide for you, it will also open you up to trusting your intuition and allowing yourself to participate in the early phases of a very transformative experience.” -Psychologist in California
“Finding a good therapist these days is challenging for many reasons including availability, insurance issues, and finding time to go to appointments. In order to find a good therapist, you need to think about who you’d feel comfortable with: a male or female; same age as you, older, or younger. Find someone with knowledge and experience treating your specific issues.” -Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Massachusetts
“Go with your gut. You want to feel safe, comfortable, at ease, and understood.” -Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in California
“Be willing to ask how they work and what they will do to help you. You want to hear about whether they have experience with your particular issue, and hear they have some success. Also, look for someone you find likable. It can feel shallow, but if you do not like each other, it can be hard to work together.” -Licensed Professional Counselor in Missouri
“I would encourage you to take your time and interview a few potential therapists so you can get a sense of who fits and who doesn’t. Then trust your gut!” -Psychologist in California
“Prepare a list of questions to ask a therapist when you have a phone conversation. Some possible questions could be how long have you practiced; how does therapy work; what type of therapy do you practice and how frequent should one go to therapy.” -Psychologist in California