What to Ask a New Counsellor

Knowing that it’s time to get the skill and support of a counsellor is a big step all on its own. Knowing which counsellor to choose can be just as daunting.

So we thought we’d help make it a bit easier. 

While each person has their own questions to ask, here are some questions that might help you as you identify which counsellor is right for you.

What to ask a new counsellor, Rhapsody Strategies, Cathy Lumsden

Questions to Ask Your Counsellor

About Them

  • What schools of therapy do you use most often?
  • What are your strengths as a therapist?
  • Are you a Registered Psychotherapist?


  • Do you use or advocate for non-traditional or non-Western methods of treatment?
  • What kinds of external resources do you suggest for clients?
  • My problem is _______. How would you go about treating that?
  • Do you tend to lead the session, or follow my lead?


  • Have you worked with clients who are generally well, but use services for maintenance?
  • How do you determine when a client is finished therapy?

Tough Stuff

  • Have you worked with suicidal clients or suicide attempt survivors before?
  • In what ways do you support people with long histories of complex trauma?
  • What approaches do you use for clients who are grieving?


  • How do you approach situations when a client’s angry or upset with you?
  • What do you do when you think a client is lying or avoiding issues?

The Nitty Gritty

  • How do you charge for therapy?
  • How long are the sessions?
  • How do you accept payment?
  • Can my therapy be covered under my insurance?
  • Can I get tax receipts?
  • What’s your cancellation policy?
  • If I don’t show up for a session, do you check in?

Questions to Ask Yourself

What I’m doing isn’t working. Why is that?

Counselling can be a form of education. When you work with a counsellor not only do they have experience working with many individuals, employees/employers and families, they’re also up to date on research that lends itself to new alternatives.

They can provide assistance geared to your individual situation and recommend further readings to expand your knowledge skills.


Why are my emotions so difficult to control?

Many of us experience times in our lives where our emotions seem to become extreme for the situation at hand. Whether it’s a parent or child constantly getting angry or anxious and not knowing how to self-regulate or a family that appears to be out of synch, counselling can teach us new methods of dealing with our emotions so we feel understood and listened to without judgment.


As a parent, business owner or employee you are trying to be the “best”.

Counselling can assist you to realize where and when you are over functioning and prevent possible crises and/or burn. Counselling can validate strengths and help you recognize what is working and what’s not, and shift it.


Is it the right time for counselling?

If you’re experiencing signs of depression, such as sadness and hopelessness, excessive worries, anger outbursts, mood swings, suicidal thoughts, lack of enthusiasm, changes in eating or sleeping patterns, increased forgetfulness, poor concentration, and withdrawal from friends and activities.

As well, if you are suffering from a loss – loss of job, dreams, relationship or of a person – counselling is extremely beneficial.

“If you are withdrawing, pleasing, controlling or exploding, I guarantee that your sabotaging beliefs and masks are running your life. Being aware of them is easy…shifting them is what I do!”

~ Cathy Lumsden

Cathy Lumsden

Counsellor & Business Coach – Ottawa

Cathy Lumsden is a registered psychotherapist, author, and international speaker.

Over her 30 years of experience, she has touched thousands of lives and helped people undergo the transformation they were looking for in their lives.

In her coaching and counselling she provides effective tools, skills, knowledge and encouragement to help her clients find solutions to real-life issues whether it’s in the workplace or in their personal lives.

In her corporate training programs, Cathy focuses on improving employee engagement and satisfaction which increases productivity and decreases staff attrition rates.

Cathy’s the author of two books and has launched an app, My True Self.

Cathy was the host of a successful TV show called “The Best Advice”, focusing on topics such as achieving your dream job, money and you, different generations in the workforce, anxiety, depression, bullying, and domestic violence.

With her warm empathetic personality, coupled with her wisdom and results focused orientation, Cathy guides clients to reach their full potential in all areas of life.

“As long as you have not reexamined your belief systems, and discarded the portions you never actually choose as an adult, you will never fully grow up.”

~ Barbara DeAngelis