Finding the right therapist can be tricky, emotional and expensive. So here’s my guide on How do you find a counsellor? It is gleaned from personal experience, trial and error and professional knowledge.
The first time I needed to find a counsellor, I was scared. Scared of everything. How do you find one? How do you know if they are any good? Male of female? Young or old? From my culture or another? Will they be hard faced or sympathetic? What happens in that room? We’ve all heard the stories of charlatans and aloof academics…
But choosing to find a counsellor starts way before you hit the internet. In fact, browsing the internet means you are pretty much way down the line of recovery.
No, wanting a counsellor begins months before, when you realise you just can’t carry the emotional load anymore. It seeps out of you, spoils your relationships, reduces you to tears too easily, gets in the way of work, gets in the way of life. Then one day, one second, you realise, I need help. This is the moment when the search begins.
How do you find a counsellor?
Step two – where, who, what are they talking about, how much? How many? Why don’t I understand what they are offering? What do all those letters mean? What is BACP? NCS, UKCP? Does a counsellor they have to have a masters in psychology to be any good? What is the difference between psychotherapy and counselling (the answer is, nothing. It’s the same thing).
I decided I would seek out a woman, old enough to have lived a full and interesting life and who lived within 5 miles of travel.
The next stage was pretty much working on whether I liked their photo and checking if they were they a member of the BACP – The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy. The BACP have a code of conduct – an ethical framework – so the therapist must be working under professional guidelines.
Next problem – the approach. Phone, message or email? If it was by phone, I could hear their voice. But then we have made contact and what if I don’t like what I hear? One I phoned said, “I don’t know why I answered this phone. I’m on holiday.” Oh, sorry to bother you…
I made contact though the website http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk in the end, outlining what I thought my problem was – I hadn’t grieved for my dad even though he had died 10 years ago. How long should grief last? (Answer – as long as it takes).
Could I afford it? I decided to ‘treat myself’ to six sessions. It was the price of a mini break in a spa, but hopefully the benefits would last longer than a massage and manicure. I’d see how it was doing after that.
Step Three in How to find a counsellor is location. How are you going to get there? Public transport or drive? Where to park? Where to wait if I was too early? Then what if I didn’t like their house or their neighbourhood? What if there was something about their room that was unsettling?
Step Four. The meeting. What if I didn’t like them? What if they didn’t like me? This was getting complicated…
But I did it. I found a therapist. Got there. Parked up on time. Her house was nice. She was empathetic, didn’t say much. I can’t even remember her name now. She was not the therapist I was looking for. We did not have a therapeutic relationship. It was time to start again…
Meeting the right person
Even when I was studying to be a counsellor and I knew all the jargon, I struggled to find the right person. But I got there in the end: I found a good therapist. She is great. Younger than me and from a different country and culture. I look forward to seeing her each time. She has seen me through many a crisis and I model my practice on the best of what she does and my experience as a client when I am with her. I want my clients to have a great therapist.
So my advice? When you a ready and brave enough, do the research. Check they with an organisation that has a ethical code. Send an email or text as long or as short as you want and when contact is established, book a time to meet up. They won’t bite.
Ring the doorbell. Go in. Sit down and start. It should be the beginning of something that will change your life for the better.
If you would like to contact me for a free half hour phone consultation to see if we could work with each other, click here
How do you find a counsellor? Lori White Therapy September 2018