Choosing a counsellor
Which counsellor is best for me ?
Choosing a counsellor can sometimes feel like navigating a maze .
You may be asking ;
“What sort of questions should I want answering, before I share my emotional life to somone who initlay will be a stranger to me?”
Perhaps I can help , as someone who taught counselling I can share my observations on the sort of questions you should ask when choosing a counsellor
First of all,there are a few things we need to understand.
At the time this article was written anyone (in the UK) can legally use the term counsellor or psychotherapist. Unlike Doctors the title ‘Counsellor’ or ‘Psychotherapist’ is not a protected title.
So what do I do?
When choosing a counsellor’,there are a few steps you can take to ensure that your counsellor is competent to work with you.
Look for membership of a professional body.
There is a number of professional bodies that oversee the work of counsellors .The largest of these in the UK is the BACP.
Being a member of a professional body means that the counsellor agrees to abide by ethical guidelines and codes of practice sometimes referred to as ethics
Anyone who is a member has to also sign up the Healthcare Professionals Register . This means that they can be audited to see if they are complying with the ethical body standards.
The BACP is not the only organisation that oversees the work of counsellors, there are any others, for a full list click here.
Is there a logo I should look out for?
Yes, when choosing a counsellor look for this logo
Counsellors should have up to date insurance
Counsellors commit to regular, supervision of their work.
Every practising counsellor should have a supervisor who they visit on a regular basis (usually monthly) to discuss their client work . A supervisor is usually a more experienced practitioner who can help the counsellor gain insight into their work.
Counsellors have regular continuing professional development (CPD)
Counsellors are obliged to take part in professional education know as CPD, and have to log 30 hrs a year. This can include a mixture of training courses , reading a book, attending a seminar or delivering training. Just like supervision and insurance , CPD is an auditable activity and counsellors can be asked to produce evidence of compliance.
What else do I need to consider when choosing a counsellor ?
When choosing a counsellor it may be best considering which approach is best for you. In counselling there is not a one size fits all approach.
There are lots of differing approaches to counselling , below I list the 3 most ‘popular approaches ‘
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy ( CBT)
CBT combines thinking and behavioural techniques. it focuses on the ‘Here and Now’ as opposed to past issues. It helps clients to think themselves out distress and uses coping strategies and techniques for stress related issues. Such as eating disorders,phobias,eating disorders and obsessive behaviour.
It can also be used to treat major depression usually in conjunction with medications
Person Centred Therapy
Developed by Carl Rogers, this approach is also known as Rogerian or client-centred counselling. It believes that everyone has the capacity and motivation for personal growth , given the right conditions. Person Centred counsellors believe that the client has answers to their difficulties. Counsellors in this therapy believe the relationship is the most important aspect and offer unconditional positive regard, empathy and congruence. To help the client emotionally grow and find their own way.
The psychodynamic approach is developed from psychoanalysis, it focuses on past experience , usually how experiences in childhood carry through into our adult lives. The therapist encourages clients to explore how their relationships with parents and significant others growing up influences the people they are today.
Most clients would agree that whatever therapy you choose, finding a counsellor that you can trust and be honest with is more likely to bring the largest and most profound changes.
The message is clear. When choosing a counsellor , find someone you can trust and feel at ease with.
Need to talk ?