Tips for choosing a Counsellor

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a counsellor and psychotherapist.

  • What approaches do they use.
  • What training and experience do they have.
  • Does the cost fit into your budget.

While these are good starting points the most important is going to be how you connect with the counsellor and how comfortable you are in their presence.  Given how you  feel in anyone’s presence let alone someone who is a stranger.  We all have different styles and personalities that come into play so this is a very individual choice.

When you meet in person or talk on the phone, take some time to consider whether you want to work with this person . You don’t need to feel pressured to make another appointment if you need time to sit with your experience.  Simply say that you need to think about it and you will get back to them.

Other issues you might want to consider.

Registered with a professional body

If someone is registered with a professional association it means they are legally accountable, have to abide by a code of ethics, and are covered by liability insurance.   The main designations that you will see are Registered Clinical Counsellor, Certified Canadian Counsellor,  Registered Social Worker and Registered Psychologist.  To become registered with any of these associations the therapist must hold a minimum of a Masters Degree, and a Registered Psychologist must hold a Phd. Whomever you choose should have several years of supervised training and experience.

What theoretical orientation and approach does the counsellor employ?

It may be important to you to check out the counselling approach to see if it makes sense to you.  In addition, the type of clients the counsellor has had experience with may also be important to you.  For example, if you are lesbian or gay, you may want to know that your counsellor is open to your orientation and can work with same-sex couples.

Is the counsellor continuing his or her education?

Counsellors are required by their professional body to continue with their education and keep up with current developments.  You can ask what kinds of study they have done recently.  Sometimes counsellors will put that up on their website.  (you can see most of my training and education here).

The work of counselling is personally challenging.   By engaging in their ongoing personal consultation/therapy your counsellor will be able keep working on their own reactions and responses in order to bring you the best service possible.  In addition, I have experience of what it is like to be a client and the experience from your perspective.

Do not be afraid to ask the counsellor these questions and any others that are important to you. Having said this, the most important thing is to trust your intuition.  Someone can seem like a ‘fit’ with all the right things on paper, but if you don’t click with him or her the therapeutic relationship is going to be hard to establish.

Check out if I am the right therapist for you.

You can book a free 1/2hr appointment to discuss these questions to help you decide if I am the right therapist for you using the;

You may also find this video of me talking about the work I do helpful.