How to Interview a Potential Therapist

How to Prepare for Your OT Interview

Whether you are applying for a job position, promotion, or pursuing a degree program, preparation is key. Be sure to ask about the interview format—will it be one-on-one or panel style? This will give you an idea of the conversational structure. Consider making a list of key points to express during your interview.

Although occupational therapists work with patients across a range of demographics and conditions, focus on the qualities and skills you have that best align with the patients you would serve in this position. Ask a friend or colleague to role-play interview questions and answers with you. Performing a mock interview beforehand can help you relax and practice answering the questions with clear, strong responses.


How Do You Help Your Patients Identify Their Triggers

    As an Addiction Therapist you help patients identify their triggers during one on one and group sessions. Tell the interviewer how you encourage your patients to identify their emotional state, physical state. Let the interviewer know that you encourage you patents to identify if their triggers happen in the presence of others.

    Heather’s Answer

    “I help my patients identify their trigger by encouraging them to talk about various stressors. One thing in particular is for them to talk about social pressure. I want to know if the patient is forced or coerced into doing things they dont want to do.”

    Heather’s Answer

    “Identifying triggers and how to move past them is something that I address during each session. New triggers show themselves on different days in different situations to addicts. We come up with a plan together to conquer them.”

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How To Interview A Prospective Therapist

Itd be nice if finding a therapist youll like were as easy as finding someone to paint your house. In both situations, you have to shop around, but interviewing your potential counsellors is a lot tougher than just reading Yelp reviews especially because theres no guarantee a therapists methods will click for you like they do for their other patients.

In finding a therapist, youre looking to build a relationship with someone you can trust, and that trust isnt easily forged. You have to be able to ask your counsellor questions in order to understand if theyll actually be able to help you.

Heres a general overview of some of the questions you should feel comfortable posing as you play the field and search out a therapist.

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In order to practice as a physical therapist, a doctor of physical therapy degree is required. In addition, candidates will need to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination. Certain states will also require physical therapists pass both a law exam and a criminal background check.

For physical therapists seeking an advanced education, they may complete a clinical residency program to gain additional training in specialized forms of care. For those who have completed a clinical residency, there is an option to complete a fellowship in an advanced clinical area.

If you’re getting ready to interview for a position as a physical therapist, you can prepare by researching the company as much as possible. Learn about the 9 things you should research before an interview.


Physical therapist responsibilities may include:

  • Measuring patient abilities such as strength, endurance, and range of motion
  • Creating treatment plans to provide pain relief and regain range of movement
  • Providing exercises and stretches for the patient to do at home
  • Discussing diagnoses and treatment plans with patients and family members
  • Providing emotional support and motivation to patients
  • Supervising and giving directives to physical therapy assistants

Role-specific questions

  • What are critical skills of an occupational therapist?
  • How do you make a difference in people’s lives?
  • What ADL evaluation tools are you familiar with?
  • How do you keep abreast of new techniques? Is there any recent development you find interesting?
  • Have you ever worked with groups? Tell me about your experience
  • What do you need to consider to develop a treatment plan?

#2       What Treatment Modalities Do You Specialize In?

A treatment modality refers to the type or method of treatment. Asking the therapist what treatment modalities they specialize in is something to consider. Depending on what you’re going to therapy for, you may benefit from one treatment modality from another. The three major types of psychotherapy are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Talk to the therapist about what they recommend for you and your condition.


In-depth therapist interview questions

In-depth therapist interview questions help interviewers gauge your industry expertise and skill level. Here are some in-depth questions you might answer during your interview:

  • Can you tell me what DSM is and how therapists use it in practice?

  • How do you track mental health data, and why is it important to your work?

  • What would you consider to be the leading causes of mental health issues today?

  • How do you approach insurance billing and client expenses?

  • Would you be open to working odd hours or weekends to accommodate a client's schedule needs?

  • What methods do you use with your clients to help them avoid secondary trauma?

  • Would you be open to performing residential therapy for clients who do not feel comfortable leaving their houses?

  • What is the relationship between psychiatrists and therapists?

  • What coping methods would you suggest to a patient who does not want to be prescribed medication?

  • What are your thoughts on virtual therapy?

Related: Clinical Psychologist vs. Therapist: What Is the Difference?

How to Respond to Questions during an Occupational Therapy Job Interview

During an interview for a role as an occupational therapist, you'll want to emphasize your experience as well as your passion for helping patients. You should be ready to answer questions that are specific to your specialty within the field. 

You'll also want to show that you have the key skills required to be successful in this role—for example, communication skills are key, as is being organized. 

Plus, you'll want to be prepared to talk about why you're interested in this role in particular. To come up with a strong answer to that question, it'll help to research the company so you have a strong sense of the culture and values. 

#4 How Often Can I Expect to Hear From You Outside of Session?

Like all relationships, when it comes to your relationship with your therapist, expectations are everything. The level you hear from your therapist outside of sessions is dependent upon the person. Some mental health providers offer phone coaching services, where you can call or text your therapist between a set range of hours. Other therapists have a strict rule that you do not communicate with them outside of the session. Some therapists are willing to answer sporadic questions you may have via email, while others may ask that you wait to address your question in session. Depending on what you’re going to therapy before, you may want to consider how much you want access to your therapist outside of the office. Whatever is determined between you and your therapist, make sure that you adhere to their guidelines and maintain appropriate and professional boundaries. 


Tips for Acing the Interview

Research the organization. The job interview is not the right time to find out more about your potential employer. As part of your interview prep, be sure to research the company. Look at their corporate website and social media feeds. Read recent news stories about the organization. Look for connections on LinkedIn to current and former employees who might be able to offer insight on the employer’s goals and culture.

Practice interviewing. It’s not enough to plan answers to common interview questions. To make the best possible impression on the hiring team, it pays to practice interviewing. Family and friends can help you rehearse, or you can practice on your own.

Consider recording your practice interview with a camera or webcam so that you can assess your body language.

Say thank you. Think thank-you notes are old-fashioned? Think again. In a TopResume survey, 68% of hiring managers said that receiving a thank-you note after a job interview influenced their decision-making process. Send yours within 24 hours of the interview to make the best impression.


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