You’re probably here because you’re thinking about going into therapy. If you’ve been in therapy before, you know that it can be a life-changing process. If you haven’t, you may not be sure what to look for. Either way, you may not know what questions to ask of a prospective therapist. I want to make that process easier for you.

But first, I want you to know that I now do psychotherapy exclusively online. If you are comfortable with that format, please continue reading. If not, you might want to connect with other referrals for an in-person therapist.

Bea Armstrong, MFT - Licensed Marriage and Family TherapistPsychotherapy is about making changes. Letting go of beliefs about how life and relationships work that aren’t bringing you happiness – in fact, may be making you miserable. Often before people enter therapy, they’ve tried just about everything else to make changes in their lives. To feel better. But nothing has worked – at least not for long.

And then the mental/emotional discomfort can become anguish and people ask themselves, “Why not get some professional help? I have to do something to stop the pain.”

However, when humans are hurting a lot, we typically don’t think clearly. And it’s hard to know what to ask of someone you are “interviewing” as a prospective therapist. So here are some ideas:


  1. Which age groups do you work with?
  2. What issues do you work with?
  3. What kind of education and training have you had?
  4. How many years have you been practicing?
  5. Have you been in therapy yourself?
  6. How much do you charge?
  7. How long is a session?
  8. How do you work with clients to help them heal?
  9. Do you belong to a professional organization?
  10. Do you update your education and training?

You don’t have to ask all of these – especially in a first session when you need a lot of time to talk about yourself. But do ask some of them. And trust your sense of safety with the therapist in the first session. If you don’t feel comfortable, safe, it will be nearly impossible to do the deep, honest work necessary to heal and grow.

By the way, here are my responses:


  1. I work only with adults – all ages.
  2. My specialty is working with adults who were abused as children – emotionally, sexually, and/or physically. Other specialty areas include: financial/abundance issues; ACAs; adult children of narcissists or those in other relationships with narcissists; grief and loss; spirituality; and mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and bipolar disorder. I truly love the work that I do.
  3. I have a master’s degree in clinical psychology and am solely in private practice. I’ve had special training in working with survivors of sexual abuse.
  4. I’ve been licensed for 23 years, and I also saw patients for three years prior while in training.
  5. Yes, I have. I can’t imagine doing this work without having been in therapy.
  6. $170 is my fee for sessions with individual clients. $180 for continuing couples.
  7. Each session is 50 minutes.
  8. I explore a client’s belief system that is resulting in behavior that is counterproductive. We look at the behavior’s origin, explore unexpressed feelings or ideas that keep that old belief in place, and then look at what other options a client has that would work better to bring personal and relationship happiness.
  9. Yes, I’m a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and am active in Northern California’s Santa Clara Valley chapter.
  10. Additional training and education are required to maintain an MFT license, and thus workshops, seminars, courses, etc. are part of the profession. But no one has to talk me into attending them. I love the learning. I have been especially fascinated by the research coming out of academia re cognitive neuroscience, particularly about how the brain changes. For 5 years, I traveled once/month to Los Angeles to study Interpersonal Neurobiology with Dr. Dan Siegel, and incorporated what I learned into my work. I also combine this information with the work on attachment theory (how you and I form relationships from day one) done by Mary Main, Robert Bowlby, and others. All of this helps me to identify what mental health is, and to help my clients achieve it as quickly as possible.

If you would like to make an appointment, or have additional questions, please call me at:


Whomever you decide to do your healing work with, I admire your courage for taking that step. The person you are about to really meet isn’t me – it’s you!