Finding the Right Counselor

Googling for a counselor can leave you dizzy. So many names, so many places. You may ask yourself: Where do I start? How will I know it’s the right place for me?

That’s how it was for me. When I first looked for a counselor, I was overwhelmed. I kept talking myself out of it, and then I would be called back to the idea. What was stopping me? For starters, I’m a natural introvert. Add to that, I come from a self-sufficient family, and we don’t talk about uncomfortable feelings. I had just finished grad school, my marriage was a mess, and I had a special needs child. I was exhausted with life.

I didn't know what I needed, but I needed support and a new way to look at myself and my relationships.

I didn’t know what I needed, but I knew I needed support and a new way to look at myself and my relationships. Are you feeling like that? Are you ready to talk to someone but you don’t know where to start?

I took a leap and picked a name from those search results; I learned what counseling is about and how it works. I also realized that I needed to shop around to find the right person. The first counselor on your list may look good on the screen, but will they be a good match for you? You may find the right counselor immediately. But if you don’t, consider that a tryout. If you need to meet a few counselors and learn more, do it.

See it as time and energy you are investing in yourself. Don’t be discouraged. I’ve felt awkward or disconnected with a few counselors over the years, but I kept looking. I was open to finding someone new. That’s how I made my first appointment at True Relationships. Then I clicked. I felt connected and understood.

The best counseling experience will include you and your counselor working together toward your goals. That requires a connection and a sense of comfort on your part so that you can be your true self. That authentic connection will help you find the path forward and support lasting change. Whether you are searching online for a counselor or have a referral, finding the right match makes a big difference.

The best counselor provides a safe, supportive environment with healthy boundaries. Look for a place where they value the client-counselor relationship and want to help you find the right counselor. Counseling is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Bring your unique experience and let that guide you to the person who matches your needs.

What Are Your Goals?

Before you talk to a counselor, consider making a list of your concerns or goals. When you first meet a counselor, it’s easy to forget all the things you want to process. That’s OK. A list can help. It may help to write down your ideas and listen to their responses. Consider how you feel about their approaches.

Ask Questions

When you first meet with a counselor, take some time to tell them your feelings and listen to their responses. You can also ask direct questions, such as:

  • What kind of experience do you have with (particular issue)?
  • Why did you become a counselor?
  • What is your specialty or area of expertise?
  • What treatments work well with (particular issue)?
    Can we meet online or in-person? How often should we meet?
  • What will help me be successful?

Pay Attention to Your Body

How does your body feel during your meeting with the counselor? Your body can give you direct clues about how you feel. It’s normal to feel nervous meeting someone new (I always do), and it’s typical to feel emotional during a session. But look a little closer. Do you feel tense? Do you feel defensive or guarded to the point where you don’t feel safe to share? Do you feel physically safe? Your body can reveal truths that listening to could give some direction.

No matter where you are looking for counseling, if your first counselor isn’t a good fit, don’t despair. Keep searching and try someone new. Each person brings a unique opportunity. Once you find the right one, you’ll know. Trust your gut.

A good counselor should:

  • Make you feel listened to and not interrupted
  • Respect your time by being punctual and using the time wisely
  • Validate your feelings and make you feel seen and heard
  • Be empathetic and guide your journey toward success

Check Out our True Relationship Website and Give Us a Call

If you are new to counseling, check out our website to learn more about our approaches and our background. When you call, we can answer your questions and find out your goals. We can help you find the right person with the right experience. Your connection with your counselor makes the process easier, lasting, and even enjoyable.

Additional sources: Stanborough, Rebecca Joy. “9 Tips to Finding the Right Therapist.” Aug 17, 2020.
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