Choosing the Right Counselor for You
You have finally decided to seek counseling or at least decided to call a counselor to see if counseling is for you. Now you are stuck trying to find the right counselor. How do you know who to choose and where to begin? These are not easy questions to answer because finding the right counselor is so important to your experience and outcome of therapy.
I have been to several different counselors starting in my teenage years. When I was a teenager I had little to no say in who my parents chose for me or if I was going to return. As an adult, I could decide who I wanted to see but I did not always choose the right fit initially. If I had taken a little more time in choosing the right person, I might have saved myself some time and energy. Below are three articles which will help you navigate through seeking counseling, choosing the right counselor, and where to begin.
In his 2007 article at GoodTherapy.org, How to Choose a Counselor or Therapist, Noah-Rubinstein LMFT, LMHC provides 14 questions to ask yourself to decide if you have found the right counselor for you. A few are listed below.
- What’s it like to sit with the counselor? I like this question because the therapeutic relationship is such an important determining factor in your outcome of therapy. Ideally you will feel accepted, listened to and understood. If you feel at all judged, like the counselor did not “get” you or your perspective this counselor likely will not be a good fit for you.
- A couple other questions Noah suggested were, what is the counselor’s philosophy and how would they help you with your concern. These are great questions to ask over the phone before even having to make an appointment. There are no particular right answers to these questions but you get to hear their response and get a feel for their style.
- Finally, Noah suggests asking about: the therapist’s experience in your area of concern, does the counselor make promises, what is their licensure, and degree(s). These are great things to consider when viewing counselors’ websites to help narrow your search before making a call.
Click on the article to read more, How to Choose a Counselor or Therapist.
In a second article, Finding a Therapist Who Can Help You Heal: Getting the Most out of Therapy and Counseling, 2015, HelpGuide.org, Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., provide just about everything you can think of related to finding the right therapist for you. The article provides detailed and in depth information about finding a good counselor for you as well as many other questions you may have about therapy. A few questions they answer in the article that you may be wondering about:
- How therapy should help in general?
- When to consider therapy over medication?
- Types of therapy available
- What to expect in therapy
- How do you know when therapy is complete?
This article also provides numerous links to other helpful resources related to therapy. Click the link to check out the article, Finding a Therapist Who Can Help You Heal: Getting the Most out of Therapy and Counseling.
I chose this last article because the writer, Tracey Cleantis, writes in a relatable, down to earth manner and even offers her own personal experience in looking for a therapist. In her 2011 article, How to find the BEST Therapist for you, Tracey Cleantis, LMFT, provides 7 tips to find the best therapist for you. Below are a few of the suggestions she offers:
- Who to ask to find a personal referral for a therapist
- How to find someone online, where most people are now looking
- How to approach the first phone call with a potential therapist
- And finally what to notice about how you feel about your potential therapist
To read all of Tracey’s seven tips click the following link, Finding a Therapist Who Can Help You Heal: Getting the Most out of Therapy and Counseling.
When trying to choose a therapist you are already going through an emotional and challenging time I hope the articles above make finding the right therapist for you that much easier.
Michelle Puster M.Ed. | Licensed Professional Counselor
Helping disconnected couples grow closer
Couples & Marriage Counseling Katy, TX