Life gets stressful, and people seek counseling when things become too much to handle. Whether you’re trying to mend a relationship or move on from one, adjust to a new life event, deal with family issues, improve your mental health, help manage stress, etc., you should never be ashamed of seeking counseling. Counseling allows millions of people to improve their mental health and situations. However, there are some considerations to make before choosing a counselor.
The bond you share with your counselor is crucial and significantly impacts your overall growth. That’s why it’s vital to do the necessary research and ask the right questions. Next, we’ll explore several tips and methods that’ll help you choose the right counselor for your needs.
- Ask For References From Trusted Sources
While you can flip through the pages in a phone book or type “counseling services near me” in Google, gaining a reference from a trusted source is almost always the better option. A referral for a counselor or counseling office from a trusted friend, colleague, doctor, or family member will often mean much more than reading a few quick positive reviews on Google. However, it’s important to remember that you may require different services or goals other than your referral source.
- Think of Your Goals in Advance
Ask yourself what exactly you hope to accomplish with counseling. Is it to get over past trauma, reduce or stop a bad habit, deal with relationship stress, etc.? You might even consider what treatments you may need, including specific medications or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Try to write out a plan ahead of time and be as thorough as possible. While you don’t need to plan out everything, having a small foundation can help narrow potential counselors down.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
It’s perfectly okay to ask any potential counselor or counseling service questions like:
- What kind of patients do you work with?
- What treatments do you offer?
- Do you have any satisfied reviews or referrals?
- How long have your counselors been practicing?
- Does your counseling office have support groups or networks?
- What is your area of expertise?
- Are you in my insurance network?
- Do you accept Medicaid or Medicare?
- Do you offer telepathy sessions?
- Pay Close Attention to How You Feel During Sessions
Your feelings of security and comfort should remain a top priority, no matter how qualified your counselor is. If you find that you’re uncomfortable with your counselor, then it’s okay to look for a different service instead. Feeling uncomfortable is reason enough to switch therapists. A few things to keep track of when working with your counselor include:
- If they interrupt you or don’t let you talk
- If your body feels relaxed during the session
- If you feel seen, heard, and respected during the session
- If your counselor shows up on time