Starting a counselling journey is one of the most courageous things you may ever do. I remember when I started counselling, I was very nervous and wasn’t sure if I could trust this stranger with my life and experiences.
I had a couple experiences of counselling before I had a good experience. The first was with a psychologist who a lecturer suggested to me. It was fine, but every time I would leave the sessions feeling like I reprocessed everything I had already figured out on my own. The second experience was with someone who was learning and it was fine also, but I didn’t feel like I clicked with her.
Then the third time I was referred to a counsellor from another of my lecturers. By this time I had a couple years of my counselling degree up my sleeve and so I knew what I was looking for and what sorts of therapies would work with where I was at. I had also done a bit of my own personal work to learn about myself to help in choosing a counsellor. This counsellor has been fabulous. The process has been emotionally painful at times! So worth it and after those moments of pain, came pure joy, understanding and hope.
Choosing a counsellor can be a hard feat. If you aren’t sure you are ready for counselling, but feel like it’s what you’re meant to do, making the phone call to a stranger is tough and very very courageous. I have put together some thoughts on things to think about and consider when choosing a counsellor.
Q: How do I choose the right counsellor for me?
A: There are a few key things to take into account when choosing a Counsellor:
– Check the counsellors qualifications and preferably if they are a member of a Counselling Association. – A qualified counsellor will have a minimum of a Bachelor or a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma, to be ready and trained as a counsellor.
– Get to know the counsellor. If they have a website, look at every page and get an idea about their values, and specialist areas if they have one. Check what their fees are and where you will meet them for sessions.
– Ask friends and family for a referral. If people you know have seen a counsellor and they were happy, then that can help in choosing a counsellor.
– You need to feel safe and listened to without judgement. The counsellors job is to offer a safe and non-judgemental place for you to share what’s on your heart and mind. Trust your intuition, if you aren’t sure or you feel like something just isn’t right, that’s OK. You don’t have to go back to that counsellor if you don’t feel safe. You can try another counsellor.
– You could give the counsellor a call to find out any details. This will give you a chance to hear their voice and gauge their personality. You are allowed to ask them any questions you may have. It’s your life and your story on the line. You want to feel safe and comfortable.
Counselling is a very courageous choice to make. It will challenge you! It will also be worth the highs and lows of the journey.
I hope this helps and has made things a little clearer. It can be a process, from thinking about counselling to starting counselling and that’s OK. You need to ready, no one else can make you ready. So be kind to yourself in this process.
Journeez Counselling and Training, Adelaide, are specialists in Self Care and learning to look after yourself in this fast-paced society. Please contact me today for further information about counselling or my Self Care workshops and seminars for businesses, churches or community groups. You are also welcome to join the Journeez community by subscribing to this blog above or follow me on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Discovering Life to the Fullest.