You need a trauma therapist in Wake Forest – but how do you find one? Once you have some ideas on a therapist, what do you even ask to know if he/she might be a good fit? Here are some questions to ask a potential therapist.
Question 1 – How often do you work with clients who have experienced traumatic events? What training have you had? What outcomes have you had?
Hopefully the answer here is “all the time.” You want someone who is at least trauma informed and has done good trauma work with clients. Ideally, you want a trauma specialist – someone well trained in working with trauma and experience working with it. For example, I (Tabitha) have had extensive trauma training through continuing education, working with other trauma providers, I have a trauma-specific certification (Certified Clinical Trauma Professional – CCTP), and I’m certified in EMDR (an evidence-based trauma treatment). My training and experience is way more than “read a book or two.” And that’s what you want – someone who has done extensive training in trauma and how to treat it and who works primarily with traumatized clients.
You also want to hear they have had good outcomes and people were able to heal. You are going to a good trauma therapist to heal. Ideally, they will use research-backed techniques like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Brainspotting, or Somatic Experiencing.
Question 2 – What is your understanding of complex trauma and chronic trauma?
You really want to hear they have a strong understanding of trauma in general, but especially complex and chronic trauma. Not everything is a “big T” trauma – like a natural disaster or war. So much trauma is chronic and “little T” trauma – like emotional abuse, bullying, or neglectful parents/caregivers. Enough “little T” trauma has brutal effects on a person – it may be less visible than a “big T” trauma, but it is no less damaging. You want someone who understands trauma in all its forms. They also need to understand how trauma develops and impacts a person and his/her life.
Question 3 – Are you more directive or less directive?
There is not right or wrong answer here – it’s what works best for you. If you need a therapist who’s a bit more directive that style will work better for you. If you absolutely hate feeling controlled, very directive may not be ideal. Another part of this question is how are they directive or less directive. What does that mean to them and how does it look? Ask for some specific examples. “Directive” can mean different things to different people so getting more information on what that looks like from the therapist is super helpful.
No therapist should be so directive that you feel like your input is irrelevant. A good therapist wants you to have input, provide feedback, talk about what is/is not working for you. Your voice should matter and be encouraged. More versus less directive never means giving up your voice.
Question 4 – How often are appointments?
This is going to vary by therapist. Depending on the style of a therapist and the issues facing the client, there could be a different rhythm. For example, a therapist who sees primarily children may see the child one week and the parent/caregiver the following week. Also, ask why the therapist sees people at those intervals. We see clients weekly because research shows that is how you feel better the fastest and how you create lasting change. When working with trauma it’s especially important to have consistent, weekly appointments if at all possible because consistency helps so much in the healing process.
Question 5 – What is a typical session like and how long are sessions?
This can give you an idea of the rhythm of a counseling session. If the counselor you called only does 90-minute sessions and you’re hoping they’ll see your 5-year-old you might want to get more information because that’s a long session for a little kiddo! If you’re looking for trauma counseling and the sessions are only 45 minutes long, how are they structured so the work can get done? We tend to favor longer sessions for trauma because 50 minutes can go so fast. We even offer intensives that are from one to three days long so we can really do the deep work without the interruptions life can throw at us!
If you want to know why it’s important to find someone who is a skilled trauma therapist, this blog gives a great explanation!
Our Wake Forest, NC and Flower Mound, TX teams specializes in complex trauma, PTSD, abuse, and anxiety. We see kiddos ages 5+, teens, adults, and couples. If you’d like to get more information about our team and see if we can help you, reach out here for your free, 15-minute consultation today!