In many cases, you will likely not reach someone directly by phone when you call. Many providers in private practice do not have a receptionist, so they will not be available to answer if they are in session.
- If this is the case, speak slowly and clearly, and leave a voice message stating your name, phone number, a brief description of the reason for your call (your interest in asking some questions and scheduling an appointment), and the best times to reach you. You can expect to receive a call back within the next few days.
Providers may be able to answer some questions before you make an appointment. To be an informed consumer, these are some questions to ask before scheduling an appointment:
- My concerns are ____ and I am looking for a therapist/psychiatrist.
- Do you have openings for new clients? What is your availability (e.g., days/times)?
- What is the cost per session? What are your payment policies (e.g., forms of payment accepted, when is payment due, do you offer payment plans)?
- I have ____ insurance. Are you an in-network or out-of-network provider?
- I do not have insurance. Do you offer any discounts or other arrangements such as a sliding scale for students?
If you are able to speak directly with the provider over the phone, below are some additional questions to consider asking. You can also ask the following questions during the first session. These questions will help you to get a sense of whether a provider may be a good match for you.
- My concerns are ____ OR I have been feeling ___ and it is affecting me ____.
- Do you have experience addressing these concerns?
- What is your approach to working with these concerns?
- Do you have a professional license? If yes, what type? If no, are you being supervised by someone with a professional license?
- What is your therapy style? How do you typically run a session?