Published: Mar 14 2013
If you've taken the decision to seek help from a counsellor, for whatever reason, well done. You've taken the first step towards becoming a happier, calmer person who enjoys life more. Making the decision isn't necessarily the hard part, though; finding the right counsellor for you is. However if you know the top tips for finding a great counsellor, the process will be much easier...
Firstly, you should get in touch with a few different counsellors to ask them about their approach, fees and qualifications. Narrow this down to a short-list of three or four different counsellors.
If a person says they are registered with an official directory of counsellors, find that directory and check their name is actually on it. Most anyone can set up a business as a counsellor, but not all people are actually qualified to do so. By double-checking any credentials, you can feel assured that you're talking to consummate professional; a person who knows what they are doing.
A bit of internet research will tell you what the industry standard is for counsellor fees, meaning you can judge the fees charged by your potential shortlist against the typical rate. If it's a little lower or higher, don't fret - but if it's a lot higher or lower, then do take this into account when making your decision. That's not to say that you should skimp when it comes to your mental and emotional health. If you feel a counsellor is a good choice, but their fees are a little higher than the average, that probably means they're exceptional at what they do.
Many counsellors will offer to give you a free initial consultation - or what they might call an 'assessment session'. This is basically a chance for you to get to know each other. You can assess their behaviour, their approach and their personality, whilst they can take on board your main issues and get a chance to think about how they can help you. There are no right or wrong outcomes to this session. Sometimes, your personalities simply won't click. That's ok - neither party should feel bad about it, it's simply just the way it goes sometimes. Accept it and move on to the next person on your shortlist.
If you feel it has gone well, talk to the counsellor about arranging your first paid session. If they don't feel comfortable in treating your certain issues, or don't feel it will be a good fit, they should tell you. Any counsellor who doesn't isn't worth their salt. It shouldn't be about securing more patients or money for them; it should be about giving you the best possible service.
No counsellor is a miracle worker. Once you've picked the person you think is right, be prepared to give the process time. No-one can change overnight. What will happen, though, is that over time, your counsellor will help you understand and deal with any emotional issues you have in the most constructive way possible. It'll be worth it in the end; just have faith in the professional you've chosen.
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