Questions To Ask Your Missoula Counselor

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So, you are looking for a counselor in Missoula. You’ve done the searches, you’ve found some phone numbers, and some kind looking pictures. Now what? How do you choose who you want to sit down and share your inner life and secrets with?

Just like interviewing for a job or a rental house or a potential life partner…which I have done many times over the years….it seems to me, for the longest time, I felt like I HAD TO SOMEHOW TRY to BE everything the other person wanted me to be. Tried (and failed) to give them the exact answers I thought they were looking for. Now I take the opposite approach….I ask them questions and then assess if their answers work for me!!!

Here are some questions to ask when you’re shopping for a new local counselor. It is ok and normal to have a free 15-minute phone consultation with a potential therapist before meeting with them in person.

1) As a counselor, what traits do the clients you love working with the most have in common?

2) You probably want a therapist who is a good “active” listener…that means she doesn’t just nod and say hmmmm. I prefer a therapist who talks too (not too much though). You can tell if the counselor is a good listener if you feel heard and understood when takling with them. Focus on how it feels talking to them.

3) What is the therapist’s general approach to working on your particular issues? It’s also very helpful if you have previous experience with therapy to let it be known your preferred way to work…whether you love reading articles, watching videos, having homework, etc.

4) Do you find the therapist trustworthy and likeable?

5) Does the therapist have expertise working with issues like yours? Have you helped others like me or with this difficulty?

6) How available is the therapist? What are the first 3 sessions like? How long will this take?

The takeaway here is that you want to find someone that you can dig into the messy beautiful parts of life with. If you are looking for a therapist in Missoula or an online therapist in Montana contact me for your free 15-minute phone consultation for counseling.

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Choosing Your Missoula Counselor

Choosing Your Missoula Counselor

Did you know that we have more than one Master’s Degree Programs at the University of Montana? We have the MSW (Master’s of Social Work); the LCPC (Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor); and several psychology and PhD programs…that I can’t speak to completely informed or factual. Needless to say …. we who live in this area or anywhere you have a University are lucky and also unlucky that we may have to deal with Too Many Choices.

If you are a beginner at starting therapy or if you are a seasoned client (aka people who do their WORK!)….I’d like to offer a couple suggestions just to get you feeling like “It’s ok to be a beginner or a person whose gone around the block. This is MY experiment and if I don’t love it…I can stop.”

Women, in particular, don’t like to “hurt anybody’s feelings”; “step on anyone’s toes”; “rock the boat!” Now I know this is a giant generalization …. and 9 times out of 10 I don’t let anybody who is my client start a sentence with “women/men…you know how THEY are.” You get the point. I am taking a small liberty here….can I just say …

SUGGESTION #1: Please try on this perspective to see if you like it….Definition of a “critical consumer” according to Diane: Someone who has verbalized what she wants and now she leaves it up to the both of us to figure out how to make that happen. 1) She is a full partner in taking responsibility for communicating what she WANTS (not always easy and some of us may need some help), and 2) she is open to change ( and doesn’t care particularly whose toes get stepped on….so long as it’s followed by a nice “I’m sorry.” JOKING.

SUGGESTION #2: The Gottman’s who put out all this fabulous training and teaching on relationships suggest that “if the man takes the wife’s influence”…. that is one of three predictors for a long term happy relationship. When I heard that…I just applied that to everyone I love and care about, including myself. In my immediate family (and I’m going to include, rather broadly, client family) - if someone isn’t willing to “take your influence”, there’s going to be trouble somewhere. We acknowledge when we appreciate another family member “taking our influence….like thank you for stopping work so we could hang out.” Look for a fit with your future therapist in the general feeling of “I think I’d like to take her or his influence.” It bodes well for the times it seems way better to resist changing. Finding someone to help you take action…to get out of your own way. Realize that pain + resistance = suffering. I aspire to be free from all suffering cause that’s what IS in my control.

All photos used on this website, unless otherwise credited, are taken at Ryokan’s Gate Retreat Center ( a branch of Diane M. Adams therapy options).


These are my relatives going on a road trip….where is your emotional road trip taking you?

These are my relatives going on a road trip….where is your emotional road trip taking you?

Finding an Online Counselor in Rural Montana - 5 Tips

Finding An Online Counselor in Rural Montana - 5 Tips

It's becoming increasingly more prevalent that therapists are adding to or singularly choosing to provide remote therapy or online counseling without the limitations of an office. This is very good news for those of use who live in rural areas. Here are my best tips for best outcome in your search for the great fit needed between counselor and client....

Tip One: Ask a person you respect, who have they seen for therapy that they would recommend? Then do your research and look online to see if they are offering online counseling. If not, call the recommended therapist and ask them if they have a name or two that they would recommend of someone offering online counseling.

Tip Two: If you're hoping to use your insurance, the two types of insurances seem to break down into PPO and HMO. It might say on the front of your card. If not, ask which you have. PPO's mean you can select an "out-of-network" therapist and you may get partial reimbursement. HMO's are generally preferring you see one of their "In-Network" providers. Then ask if they reimburse any part of online therapy when the therapist is in the state where you live. Many therapists licenses are not reciprocally honored by other states. Be at least a wee bit informed before you call or contact someone. If the therapist you're interested in is "out-of-network" - meaning they are not on your insurance panel and are not required to release information to your insurance company or be limited by your insurance company's procedures and policies, that allows you to be very selective and specific about what you're looking for.

Tip Three: The therapists I know take credit or debit cards, health savings plans, and flex savings plans. They don't take cash or checks unless that is arranged before therapy starts. Typically you will pay for the session and then, if you hope to get some of your investment reimbursed by insurance, you can request the counselor send you what's called a SuperBill. This can be forwarded to your insurance company and if they reimburse, the reimbursement is sent directly to you.

Tip Four: This investment is in yourself and your own well-being. If you desire good mental health, help making peace with the past, help living in the present moment, learning what your core values are and what matters to you and how to prioritize that, learning to take in joy through the five senses...I would suggest that the cost is only one factor in your decision making process. Make effort to determine what this is worth to you ahead of time...and then call around.

Tip Five: Make the time to set up a couple free 15 minutes phone consults - where you can talk with the therapist, ask questions, find out how they work, and pay attention to your gut reaction or intuitive hit. It will tell you whether to take an informed, educated risk or to keep looking. Please...do not take the elevator up into your head and overthink it and then override your initial response. This strategy will not usually turn out to be in your best interest. If you shakily, on new born baby legs, take a chance...at least your gut/intuition/instinct has your back. I like to say "my mind is not my friend."

If you would...let me know if I left any part out that has been helpful for you to find online counselors in Montana. I'd love to hear about your experience.

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