Back to Blog

Finding the Right Counsellor

January 9, 2022

If you were looking for a new hairdresser, plumber or builder you would probably ask a friend or put a message on the local Facebook page. Not only are people happy to share their experience of these professionals and their work but the results are often evident. This isn’t often the case with a psychotherapist / counsellor. Firstly, people don't always want to admit to having support for their mental and emotional wellbeing. Secondly, because much of the work is relational i.e., a connection between 2 people, a therapist that works for one person might not be a good fit for another. So this begs the question: how do you find a suitable therapist amongst all the professionals out there? 

To help you with that question, I’ve come up with 5 points to help lead you to the right source of help:

1.    What do you want help for?

The first step is to have a think about what it is you are looking for help with.Many therapists specialise in specific areas which do require specific knowledge and expertise. If you are suffering with anxiety or depression, for example, a cognitive behavioural therapist or a counsellor specialising in these areas might be your most appropriate source of help. If it is a relationship difficulty, a therapist with a good grounding in attachment theory and relationship dynamics will be crucial. 

2.    Finding the best fit.

There are a number of UK Counselling / psychotherapy directory websites that therapists can pay to have their profile featured on. Whilst their profile ont hese sites doesn’t necessarily endorse their work as a therapist, it is helpful as a place to explore your options. They also often give you the ability to narrow down your search according to specialist areas of interest and location. Have a read through their profiles to get a feel for their approach. Go with what looks right for you but keep in mind the following:

  • Does the therapist have a membership and/or accreditation with a professional body? This means that they must adhere to certain guidelines to maintain their membership or accreditation such as regular training, supervision and maintaining ethical boundaries. 
  • Whilst cost may be an important factor in your decision, try not to base your choice on the cheapest option, in the long run you may end up paying more. 
  • Don't base your decision solely on the number of letters someone has after their name. Whilst qualifications show the ability to pass exams, they are not a     prerequisite to being an effective therapist. 

3.    Take the plunge

Book an appointment to meet with the therapist (or therapists). Most therapists offer an initial session to explore what you are looking for help with so that you can both decide if you are a good fit. Think about what you want to ask, for example: How would you approach helping me with my difficulty?

4.    Reflect on the experience.

Once you've had that session ask yourself the following questions:

  • How did I feel in the session? Okay, you might have been a bit nervous but did you understand what was said? Did you come away less nervous / less confused?     Did you feel a sense of hope that this person could help you?
  • Does the therapist invite feedback, both positive and negative? This is a sign that they use reflective practice to ensure they are working in a way that     suits you.
  • Did the therapist understand the particular issue I want to address? Have they worked with it before?
  • Did the therapist leave plenty of time for me to talk and did I feel heard and understood? 
  • Did the therapist leave all the talking to me? Whilst it's important you do get the time to talk, it's just as important that the therapist has some input.    
  • Was I pressurised into booking further sessions? You should never be pressured into committing to further sessions there and then. It's best to reflect on the     experience and, if you decide to go ahead let the therapist know in your own time.  

5.    Decision time

Don't be afraid to meet with a number of therapists before making your final decision. Taking your time to get it right will save you both money and time int he long run. 

Finally, once you are seeing a therapist on a regular basis it is likely that there will be times when you feel worse rather than better, that's often part of the process but it's essential that you let your therapist know if it's not working out or you're not getting what you want from the sessions. Any effective professional will welcome this honesty and address it if need be.


Get in touch

If you’d like to find out more information or enquire about our services, please contact us.

Contact Us