Counselors are people, and as such, they have their own personalities that might not mesh with every client who comes to them. This can seem frustrating from the point of view of someone seeking help, but it doesn’t mean to give up on counseling. Instead, try looking for a better fit. If you want to improve your chances of locating a therapist who will meet your needs, try following these tips:
1. Ask Your Friends & Family for Counselor Recommendations
While they might not talk about it, approximately 2 out of every 5 people you know have been to therapy. So, when you begin searching for the right-fitting counselor, it’s often best to ask these individuals who they’ve seen. If they recommend a specific therapist, ask them what it was they liked most about the person. Also, if they are comfortable discussing why they were seeing the person, ask how the counselor helped to solve their problems.
2. Always Choose Good Over Convenient
Yes, there might be a counselor right up the road from your house, but that doesn’t make them skilled or qualified to help with your problem. If you are capable of driving to see a therapist an hour away, consider spreading your search radius further out. Besides, the drive home is often a good time to reflect on your session and process how you feel about what they said or the tools they recommended.
3. Learn About Their Philosophy & Work Methods
When you start interviewing counselors, don’t settle for sales speeches. This is your life and mental health after all. Find out how the therapist likes to work with their clients, what sorts of philosophies they adhere to, and the specific methods they like to use to help people. If any of these tools or personal beliefs rub you the wrong way, it’s alright to go ahead and mark this individual off your list. Having a negative feeling before you ever sit down in the office will interfere with how open you are to their counseling treatment.
4. Consider Physical Characteristics You’re Comfortable With
If there are pictures available to look at, this is often advisable. Whether you want to admit it, you most likely have feelings about how a therapist treating you should look. Trying to find someone close to this image in your head will help you stay focused on treatment and not their personal appearance.
5. Select Someone Specialized in Your Dilemma
Typically, counselors will focus their skills on one to three specialties. When searching for the right fit, be sure that the therapist in question has a reputation for handling your specific issue. For instance, if you are seeing cracks in your marriage or relationship, seek out a trusted marriage counselor. If you prefer action-motivated treatment instead of talk therapy, look for a solution-oriented therapist. There are also counselors who specialize in cognitive treatment to help clients change negative or self-destructing patterns, family-focused therapists, and many other unique fortes. The best way to determine if you've found a match is to spell out directly what you are dealing with or what you think might be wrong with you. If the counselor is able to describe in detail the way they would approach helping you, they are most likely well-suited for your problem. If they are vague, keep looking.