Interested in counselling but have no idea where to start or how to find the right therapist?
A good place to start is by asking yourself, “What is it I am looking to get out of counselling?”, or “What are my goals for therapy?” If you are struggling with a specific concern a general guideline is to review the areas of specialties and experience for different counsellors/therapists to find someone with experience related to the reason you are seeking outside assistance. Review the background and approach of different therapists and ask yourself if the person seems like they would be a good fit with your overall beliefs, values and worldview. Research on change in therapy has found that the strongest predictor of positive client change is related to the strength of the therapeutic alliance, or the relationship between yourself and your counsellor. This association is stronger than for specific techniques or for years of counsellor experience (Hubble, Duncan & Miller, 2006*).
Once you have found someone you are drawn to if you have any additional questions or concerns do not hesitate to bring these forward. Many of the counsellors here at Insight Psychological Inc. offer the option of a brief initial consultation over the phone or by email at no charge and this is something you are welcome to request. When you are feeling good about the previous steps it is time to book an initial appointment. It can take time to build a relationship and trust with your counsellor, however if you are not feeling that you are developing a strong therapeutic alliance with your therapist over a number of sessions this is something you can bring up directly with your therapist to see if it can be improved upon or to explore options for a referral to another professional who may be a better fit for you. It is important that you feel comfortable with the person you choose to work with as research has shown this to be the strongest predictor of positive change.
By Katie Turner, M.Sc, Registered Provisional Psychologist
* M.A Hubble, B. L Duncan, S. D. Miller, The Heart & Soul of Change: What Works in Therapy. 2006. American Psychological Association, Washington DC.