HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT COUNSELLOR

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT COUNSELLOR

There are a lot of amazing benefits to be had from working with a counsellor.

As we discussed in a recent blog, having someone outside of your friends and family, to talk to about your life is really valuable. It's far easier to open up about some things to a professional than it is to those we're close to.

Counselling Meadows Wellbeing

Finding a counsellor you feel comfortable working with is key to making the process successful, so in this blog we look at some of the things to consider when choosing the right counsellor for you…

Rapport

This is absolutely most important thing. While all counsellors will have professional training (you should always check this with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) and will be fully capable of providing support, that doesn’t automatically mean you will connect with them on a personal level. The key to getting the most from counselling is finding someone you feel relaxed and comfortable around, because in most cases you will be discussing personal information so you need to feel able to open up to the counsellor you’re working with.

If you’re new to therapy, rest assured that counsellors completely respect the need for you to feel comfortable with whoever you choose, which is why most will offer initial assessments, so you can both see if you’re the ‘right fit’. Often you will know from gut feel, when you’ve found a counsellor who you click with, so don’t be afraid to ‘shop around’, you can meet with as many counsellors as you like in order to find the right one for you.  

Access

While finding a counsellor you have a good rapport with is critical, you do also need to think of the practicalities – can you get to the sessions easily, and do they have appointments when you need them? If you can only attend counselling after work at 5.30pm, for example, there’s little point having an assessment with a counsellor who closes their practice at 3pm. Many counsellors work on a very flexible basis, so it’s always worth reaching out and explaining your situation, but do be aware of your own schedule and find a session that will work for you. The last thing you need is the added stress of trying to get time off, or finding extra childcare if you can avoid it. Equally, think of location too. Is your counsellor’s practice easy to get to? Do you need a car, or can you walk or get public transport if you have to? Again, this is about limiting the stress around attending a session. Also, it’s worth considering alternative arrangements; if you really like a particular counsellor, but distance is an issue, see if they offer virtual sessions – this is a much more common practice in recent times. We’d recommend attending in person where possible, especially to start with, but ultimately it’s important to find what works for you. 

Counselling Approach

When researching local counsellors, you may find that they each list different types of counselling/therapy approaches. This simply means that they focus on slightly different themes – some might explore your childhood and past traumas, while others will be much more focused on the here and now. Certain therapists centre on talking about the challenges you’re facing, others are more action oriented and help you come up with clear plans to address issues. Each form of counselling has its benefits, and will suit different people. Part of the initial assessment will be discussing what you want to get from your sessions, and how the counsellor may be able to help. You don’t need to understand the theory behind these approaches, unless you’d like to, as in practice you’ll take the lead from the counsellor.

However, as you begin your counselling journey, you may find that a certain approach definitely does or does not work for you, and that’s absolutely normal. It’s why there are so many different approaches – because no one size fits all in counselling. You may find it beneficial to try a few different methods out, or do some research on the options and talk to counsellors about their approach to see what feels right to you (we’ll be exploring some of these differences in future blogs).

Price

It’s not something people really want to think about, and in an ideal world mental health services, including counselling, would be readily and freely available to everyone. However, the reality is that for most people the cost is an important part of the decision. After all, there is no point hiring a very expensive counsellor if it means you can only see them every six months (unless that’s what works for you). Most private counsellors will be upfront about the fees payable, and it’s typical to pay between £40-£50 for a 50 minute session.

However, there are low-cost and free options available in most regions, so if price is a barrier for you, do explore what is available in your area. You may be able to get a referral by your GP to free counselling or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). In some areas you can also refer yourself for these services via an initiative called Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT). There might also be a local counselling centre nearby which may provide lower prices for those who cannot afford private counselling. And don’t forget to check if you have health insurance or if your employer offers access to counselling services, and take advantage of what’s available to you.

Choosing a counsellor is a very personal process, and it’s OK if it takes a while to find the right fit.

But by thinking about the above hopefully you can access the support you need to manage the challenges you’re facing.

Close Menu

BEFORE YOU GO

HAVE WE ANSWERED ALL YOUR QUESTIONS?

REQUEST A RING BACK:

Your information will be processed in line with our Privacy Policy and for the purposes of calling you back. You will not be added to any mailing lists unless you sign up separately. Ring Back Requests will be actioned during opening hours only.