Any suggestions on important questions to ask them at the start (other than obviously if they're trained in CBT) I also have several "Adult child of an alcoholic" personality traits, so I'm sure it'd be useful for them to be informed on that.
My suggestions for finding an effective therapist:
1) Ask their background in treating anxiety disorders. Ask their background with cognitive behavior therapy.
2) Ask how long would you be estimated to be in therapy. Although no therapist can provide you an accurate count of sessions, you shouldn't be in therapy for months and months and months.
The important answer to that question is whether your therapist is able to help you manage your anxiety over a shortened period of time.
3) Ask their opinions for living in the present. A good therapist will focus on living in the now. A bad therapist (those trained in childhood trauma as the root of all mental illness) will self- analyze our past over and over and over. Although it's good to know how our past formed our now, a therapist should know when to guide the patient, to let the past go.
4) Ask how they separate their personal issues from their client. In my opinion, a bad therapist will relate to your issues from their personal experience. A good therapist will be objective, and not see your issues with your heightened degrees of emotion. Your high degrees of emotion are the problem, since it's the cause of the anxiety, so a therapist needs to see it outside your frame of reference, and direct you to see it from a more rational, cognitive point of view.
5) Ask if they're linked too good psychiatrists in the area. Ideally a therapist and a psychiatrist are needed to treat someone with an anxiety disorder. You should work with two mental health professionals, who know one another, and reference patients to the other practice. In my view, any therapist that gives you negative views about psychiatric medication is a waste of time. Although it's true some therapists may not need medication, and likewise some patients may not need medication either, a good therapist would know when a patient should be on medication, because high anxiety is a medical issue in how the brain operates, as it is also a distortion in cognitive thinking. The choice to not take medication is not because psychiatrists just want to drug us, but because our brain can return to its normal state, without the brain's need
for medication. However for many of us with anxiety disorders, we have to be on medication, and it's not a bad thing, if we are.