I have often been asked whether counselling is a good thing and also how you go about selecting a counsellor. I would say based on personal experience counselling is either an extremely positive experience or totally negative.
Years ago I was referred to a counsellor and it was a disaster. The counsellor sat and listened; their body language was poor and they didn’t hide their boredom! Two sessions later they rather tartly asked me if that’s it and whether I can talk about something else! My reply was to get up, calmly ask her if she wanted me to make something up to make her day and leave the premises.
Perhaps to be fair to the counsellor, I was not prepared; I didn’t know what to expect and felt inadequate blurting out the same thing that was bothering me from week to week. Sometimes though you can go to therapy with one particular thought/problem and a skilled counsellor will work on you and get to the root cause.
I didn’t go back to therapy again; my doctor and I found it oddly amusing; clearly counselling was not for me at that moment in my life and I guess that’s the point I am making, if you’re not ready you won’t benefit from it.
I guess when you first meet your counsellor, like anyone you meet for the first time, you will make a judgement of suitability, people say they don’t judge; but we do it every minute of our day.
Things to look for it a counsellor are: Sincerity, confident, open body language, genuine interest in you, they listen to you totally, they ask what you want to get out of the sessions; do you have any end goals in mind? Do they have a qualification? Believe it or not, anyone can put the title counsellor on and be one – it’s dangerous for the person on the receiving end – so don’t be shy in asking for their qualifications.
The BACP have a list of accredited counsellors; each has to pass extensive study and examinations. When they counsel they will tell you they are covered by the BACP Code of Ethics.
Depending on what you intend to discuss will depend on who you choose, for example some counsellors are specialists with the field of grievance, others depression, post traumatic stress, asperger, health related issues – again there is a listing on BACP website; a long one.
On the BACP website, it will have the counsellors contact details, it will say what method of counselling they use.
Once again their specific mode may or may not suit you. CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), creative therapy, humanistic, person centred; again another long list. Read up on the therapies and see which one you think suits you; some counsellors offer integrative skills, so that is an eclectic mix of modes.
You are the one that decides what you want and what is right for you; when you call a therapist ask questions and lots of them. Remember you need to like them as you will share your confidential issues with them; it’s so very important to get on and feel confident in their ability. You need to be completely confident in their ability to help you.
It’s taken me years to find a therapist I am at ease with and I intend to keep it that way. When you are in a counselling relationship you must commit to whatever period of time is required to resolve the issue; you may see the counsellor for three months (once per week), some clients stay forever as they want to dump their stuff in confidence and just walk away. This is what I do, my relationship with my counsellor is more like an un-judged check-in; I find it therapeutic and I believe I wouldn’t cope as well as I do now without it.
Good luck on your journey;
Here the link for BACP: