How to choose your Counsellor?
Making the decision to go and see a Counsellor can be very daunting. This person will potentially know more about you after a number of sessions than most of your friends and family.
Getting the right one matters – for you to get the results you are looking for and also because financially they can be big outlay.
- Ask friends and family
Ask friends and family if they have seen a therapist or if anyone they know have. Recommendations are still one of the best ways of discovering the level of quality you are looking for, whether that be for a product or a service such as in this case.
Remember you don’t want a counsellor who is convenient, you want one who is good. Good and convenient do not often go hand in hand. This is an investment in yourself and your future so you need to find the best fit for you.
- Shop online
As is the modern way, a thorough online search will go a long way in you finding the right counsellor for you. There are a whole host of directories which most good counsellor will pay to appear on. On these sites you will be able to filter by specialism and the type of counselling you are looking for.
One word of warning – these websites offer the counsellors the opportunity to pay more and to appear at the top of the page. Featured positions if you like. Because they are near the top does not always indicate they are the best counsellor. You may need to delve a little deeper before just making contact with the first result you come across.
- A picture tells a story
What’s that old saying…’Never judge a book by its cover’? Well that isn’t always true – particularly when it is one of the only things you have to go off at this stage. If something about their photo isn’t quite right or makes you uncomfortable in any way then the warning signs are already there.
You need to be able to look at the photo and imagine sitting across from this person and talking openly on a regular basis.
This is something you need to consider right at the beginning of your search. Ask yourself, which gender do I work or communicate best with. You will already know the answer. Or maybe even if you don’t then you may be able to tell which you would prefer not to work with, given a choice.
- Call them
When you find a therapist to call, then call. It sounds easier than it is; I have had the numbers of therapists in my possession for weeks before I dared to call. Once on the phone, I had questions handy:
- Where did they go to school? Sounds like a silly question but somewhere in your conversation you need to double check that they are academically qualified. You are looking for the best not for someone who has done an online course.
- What is their specialty? Every good therapist should have one or two areas which they work best in. One can’t be equally good at everything.
- Have they worked with people with your issues? On the phone, introduce your presenting issues and see how they respond.
- Are they now, or have they ever been, in therapy? This is probably something you won’t even have considered but is very important. Ideally you want a counsellor who has been to counselling themselves. This way they have experience of where you’re going to be – they will have walked a mile in your shoes. To hone and develop their skills they need to have sat where you are going to sit and partaken in therapy.
If after taking all these steps you get a good feeling about the counsellor then you can be confident you have found yourself a good one.
One last piece of advice, don’t let any therapist ever spend the first session doing paperwork with you. This is a waste of your time and money. Ask to have it all sent to you prior so you can fill it and bring it with you.