The Perfect Match:
How to Find The Right Counsellor/Therapist
Do you need to find the perfect match and wonder how to find the right counsellor/therapist for you?
What on earth should you look for in a counsellor?
I have had so many patients and friends ask me how to find the right counsellor/therapist for them. It can be hard to connect with a complete stranger, but there are some things you can consider.
This post will describe some ways know what to look for…
Posted: March 6th, 2021
Disclaimer: Although I am a mental health professional, all information and reflections are meant for educational purposes only. If you plan to make changes in your life, it may be worth consulting with loved ones and/or your wellness team. Also, this post may contain affiliate links that will connect you with some pretty cool products and when making a purchase through those links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
If you’ve never been to a counsellor before, it can be quite scary. It can be even more scary if you have tried a few different people and have been disappointed multiple times.
It is hard to know what you are looking for if you haven’t found the right match.
These are not ways to guarantee a perfect match because perfection isn’t possible. It IS possible to find someone who suits your needs in many ways though.
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I am far more trusting of a counsellor when I hear that they have a complimentary call before scheduling paid sessions.
This to me means that they believe in finding the RIGHT MATCH and making sure you both are interested in continuing on. Every counsellor follows differing methods of therapy, so let them tell you a little about how they approach problems.
You can ask some questions, learn about their counselling experience and see if your personalities mix. A lot can be said in a quick 10-15 pre-screening call.
There are many different levels of training each counsellor or therapist has. Additionally, each person has an area they are passionate about.
If you have a specific concern, such as grief, trauma, co-dependency, it may be best to find someone who has experience in that area. If you read about a certain type of therapy of interest, you can also find someone who has experience doing that.
Certain social concerns can also be considered. Maybe you need someone who is knowledgeable about human rights, gender, sexuality or cultural needs. It is okay to seek these characteristics, as well!
You need to feel comfortable with this person. I’m not referring to their couch, although that helps.
I have heard MANY people say that they did not click with their counsellors. Luckily, I’ve received positive feedback about my approach.
You want someone who you can be vulnerable with, otherwise you may not be honest about the details of your life or omit some.
It is not EASY to disclose your most intimate and upsetting stories. Because this is true, you want someone who is compassionate, non-judgemental and can openly talk to.
No, not to a fight or a game of checkers.
A good counsellor knows how to help you push your boundaries. It is very easy for us to get stuck in safe patterns of behaviour and stay in our comfort zones.
You want to find someone who helps you engage in wellness activities and problem-solve ways to move forward, even when difficult. They provide a comfortable level of encouragement to try new things and grow.
If they do not, then you’ll spend many dollars just talking in circles rather than working on anything.
I cannot stress this one enough. Your feedback is so important.
Creating therapeutic goals should be done together, but ultimately, they need to be what YOU want to do.
A good counsellor will work WITH you to create a game plan for therapy and also the steps along the way. No one has the right to dictate your wellness goals, so if you feel someone is taking too much control, they may not be the right match.
Have you ever met a person you felt would be an awesome friend, so you continued to connect? The same can happen with a mental health professional.
Look, the reality is that there are some people we will like and others we will not. This is true about any relationship, professional or otherwise.
If you get bad vibes, don’t like their personality or even just find their voice annoying, it is okay to look elsewhere! Do NOT worry about hurting their feelings by saying that you plan to look elsewhere. As a professional, they should know the importance of a good counsellor/client match.
At the end of the day, it is important to trust your intuition. If your gut says it they are not good for you, listen. Hopefully you have learned some ways on how to find the right counsellor/therapist.
Sometimes our options are limited, especially with free services. If that is the case, see if your counsellor is open to feedback on ways to better help you.
It is your mental wellness, so you should feel respected and safe.
What Can You Do?
When looking for a mental health professional, here are some steps you can do:
– Use a search engine to look for your needs (Example- LGBQT counsellor, grief counsellor, Indigenous counsellor)
– Check out their website for credentials, where they are registered and their experience.
– See if they do a 10 to 15-minute pre-screening call.
– Set up an appointment if you feel they are a good match for you.
– If the match just isn’t right, ask them if they recommend someone else or start the process again.