Having to sift through pages and pages of google listings to look for a counsellor or therapist in times of chaos, confusion, frustration, hurt and anxiety, is really tough. While the process in finding just the right counsellor is daunting, here are a couple of tips that will hopefully make the process just a bit easier for you. Here is what to look for: (in no particular order)
- Location -- fortunately we live in an area surrounded by small towns and cities. Getting from one place to another can be fairly easy, except during rush-hour. But whether the office is located on a major bus route can be a factor. Also, is it in a discreet location? Is there a lot of parking available or will you have to circle the block over and over to find one?
- Cost -- this is a significant part of the decision process. How much can you afford. I know, we all hear that there is no price tag on health, but there really is. Plan on attending therapy once a week for 3 months. What can you afford? What are you willing to not spend money on, in order to have the extra to pay for therapy? The costs for counselling varies significantly from next to nothing all the way to couple of hundred per hour. The rates do not equal quality. There are many factors that goes in to a therapist determining their rates.
- Life Experience -- a therapist once told me "I can't help you because I have no idea what it's like to be unhappy". I think the experience behind the therapist is crucial. Experience has a direct link to empathy. To understanding. Has the counsellor experienced life enough to know basically what you may be feeling?
- Education -- regardless of life experiences, education is necessary to help facilitate the counselling sessions. Is the counsellor trained in various therapy techniques, or do they just use one form of therapy that you must fit into?
- Gut Instinct -- I believe this is by far the most important aspect in choosing a therapist then any of the above. How do you feel when you read their website? Do they speak to you? Do you feel some sort of connection? If the price is cheap, location is perfect, life experience matches yours and they have been educated up the wing wang, it will be a useless and fruitless counselling experience if there is no strong client-therapist connection.
So, when you are searching for that therapist, connect with the website. Feel it. Read the "About Me" section. Read and Feel. If that passes, look at the location and rates. If that's good to go, get a feel for their education (especially education that is specific to helping you!).
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