Finding the right therapist
Choosing a counsellor can potentially be a daunting task, particularly if this is your first experience of counselling. With this in mind, I thought I’d come up with a few pointers that hopefully may help.
With such an array of counsellors out there, it can be quite confusing knowing where to start when looking for a therapist. Here are the pointers which I feel are important to consider.
First thing – it is important to know that a potential counsellor is suitably qualified. Check to see what their qualifications are. These can sometimes seem quite cryptic – an array of initials. If you don’t know what they stand for, ask. Reputable online directories will have asked for evidence of qualifications and training from their members, and will let you know that these have been checked.
I would also check to see if the counsellor is a member of a professional body. This offers you some protection should things go wrong, as you can then make a complaint against the counsellor to their professional body.
You can usually get a feel of the person from their information pages on directories, and websites. Are they clear? Do they give you the information you need in order to make a decision about meeting? Once you’ve looked at a few websites, you will begin to get a feel for what feels important to you. Go with your gut instincts.
There are many different counselling styles and approaches – it’s a matter of finding which one is right for you. The information the counsellor provides will usually include information on their approach. The BACP provide helpful information about counselling approaches – you can read up about a particular counsellor’s approach on there.
Research shows that the relationship between counsellor and client is one of the main indicators of successful therapy. It is therefore important that you feel comfortable and at ease with your potential counsellor.
‘Shopping’ for a counsellor.
Many counsellors will offer first sessions at a reduced rate, or shorter, free, assessment sessions for you to meet, and for you to decide if you would like to continue. If there are several counsellors you are interested in, try meeting with each. ’Shop’ around! It’s important to find the right person for you. You should not be put under pressure to continue after this initial session. If the counsellor suggests booking another session, and it doesn’t feel right for you, just say you’d like to think about it and will be in touch if you’d like to book another session.