How to Choose a Counsellor

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You’re looking for therapy, but choosing the right person can seem like a minefield. 

Viewing countless counsellor profiles on their websites or counselling directories can add to your stress, and then it’s even harder to choose. Here are some tips to simplify the process.

So Many Counsellors to Choose From

So many counsellor profiles and website about pages look similar, making it difficult to choose between them when searching online. It’s even worse if you’re stressed out or anxious. Then, part of your difficulty is a lack of confidence in your decision making.

Make a List of Your Requirements

You can make choosing a counsellor much easier if you reduce the numbers.

A great way to do this is to write down a list of your requirements. You could decide on their gender, age and geographical location. That would narrow things down quite a bit. But try to let go of your expectations. Too many people get bogged down with initial expectations that hold them back, delaying them from getting help.

For example, a friend might have told you a particular type of therapy is good. However, the different forms of therapy can be seen merely as different ways of seeing, and, funnily enough, they all cross over at some point. Therefore this shouldn’t be much of a concern for you.

The next part is relatively simple, too, if you can identify what kind of concern you have.

If you think it’s anxiety, you can look for people on the shortlist who specialises in that issue. There is little need to view the counsellors who say they work with many problems. It could make choosing harder by lengthening the list again.

The next part is a little more complicated, and you need to take your time over this, really. A thoughtful choice will probably be the one most likely to help. However, I need to explain something first.

Therapy is a Collaborative Effort

All forms of counselling are a team effort.

Counselling - a collaborative effort
Team Up With A Counsellor

You and your counsellor will be working together to achieve the aims you identified. Because your unresolved problems are so personal, you have found talking to people you know difficult. And so, you intend to speak with someone who is a stranger to you, where there is no come-back and what you talk about will be private.

You want the counselling to make you feel better. Of course, it’s a cost financially, but also, it will take time to get to the nitty-gritty of the past traumas you’ve avoided, perhaps for many years.

You’ll need to be able to be yourself with the person you choose for your therapy to work well.

It stands to reason that the defences you built up over the years in hiding your pain, shame or guilt will take some effort to dismantle.

So, looking at the remaining websites or profiles, it’s reasonable to try and make another shortlist of those whose writing and photos you feel drawn to. There may be something they say, like a turn of phrase you often say to yourself. If you think they “get you” at all, that’s a good indicator that working with them would be effective.

The Final Stage

Now you have a list of two or three counsellors; all you need to do is see what they offer in the way of concessions with the first session. I call this a consultation.

Its purpose is to give you a chance to see if you and the counsellor can “gel”. Many offer either a free consultation or a consultation at a reduced price. Either way, you can take advantage of such offers to “try out” their service to see which you prefer.

You Made That Look Easy

So, here I’ve pointed out a simple way to navigate the minefield of online counsellor profiles. By quickly writing down a list of your ideal requirements, you’ve produced a much shorter list and made choosing more straightforward. Furthermore, you can ask for an initial chat or consultation to check how you feel talking with them and help you decide which is best for you.

Then, you will have gotten this sticky part over with and be able to get on with your therapy. Bon-voyage!

Main photo by Unsplash

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