Updated: Feb 7, 2021
Since every person’s emotional world works differently, no one counsellor is the perfect fit for every individual. When you are looking for the right fit, the key is to notice how you feel with your therapist. You might be lucky and find the best counsellor straight away but, in most cases, it can be a little more frustrating as you will have to meet with more than one before finding the right match for yourself.
When you start seeing a therapist, your relationship should be based on mutual trust.
When you are with your counsellor, you should be able to feel safe and your emotions respected. The reason for this is that it takes a lot to open up to a stranger about your difficulties, vulnerabilities and fears; what comes up in future sessions are very personal and often painful topics.
“Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when
you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life.”
Shannon L. Alder
So, where can you start?
Few practical things you need to pay attention to:
A counsellor must have completed a recognised course. This is the guarantee that the counsellor has completed adequate study and training.
A counsellor registered with a counselling association. This guarantees that they have the required qualifications from and undertake regular further development.
A registered counsellor undertakes supervision regularly. This ensures that they are committed to delivering an excellent service.
Lastly, they should have proof of suitable insurance.
Unfortunately, none of these will guarantee your therapy's success as a positive outcome depends on several factors. Therefore, trust your instincts and maybe ask friends and family if they have ever attended a counselling session before and if they would recommend that counsellor.
Emotional response you should pay attention to:
Do you feel safe, seen and respected during the session?
Do you feel listened and understood to what you’re saying?
Does the therapist interrupt you while you are talking?
Do you feel your emotions validated during the session?
Does the therapist give enough time to gather your thoughts?
How are your body response during and after a therapy session?
Do you feel a sense of relief after a session?
Does the therapist respect your time and is punctual to appointments?
Did you ever feel anger or disappointment toward your counsellor during the session? If yes, were you able to open up?
Do you fear any judgement from your counsellor?
“Don’t let mental blocks control you. Set yourself free.
Confront your fear and turn the mental blocks into building blocks.”
Be aware that:
There are many different counselling approaches, find a therapist familiar with an approach that resonates with you; it will help the healing process.
It is likely to experience complicated emotions during your sessions; you try to unravel painful thoughts and find meaning to what is happening, seeking clarity within yourself.
The only way to make the counselling process a positive experience is to feel complete trust for your counsellor and feel safe while opening up about fragilities, fears, and sometimes feelings of unworthiness or shame.
Feelings such as anger and abandonment are normal even when experienced toward your counsellor. Be open about that; your counsellor won't take it personally; on the contrary, he or she can help you work out these feelings in a positive manner.
It is perfectly normal to try out a few different counsellors before you find the right match. Trust your feelings entirely in this process.
My conclusions are that therapy won't work for you if:
You didn't feel safe enough to open up.
You fear judgement from the counsellor.
You don’t want to disappoint the therapist.
You don’t feel safe to say if you feel triggered during the session.
Now you know what to look for when it comes to find your therapist. Here a few tips before starting your session:
Read the contract and cancellation policy.
Think about your goals and questions
Be open about your struggle.
Ask questions about any of your doubts.
There are no stupid questions.
And finally, human connection is a critical point of effective therapy; you may build that sense of connection whether you meet your therapist in person or online, there should be a strong a sense of safety and understanding, you should feel comfortable enough to divulge your feelings and concerns and work towards rebuilding your emotional health.
“If counselling is a process of discovery and recovery,
then grace is essential to help clients experience enough safety
to explore the hidden places of their lives.”
Mark R. McMinn
Feel free to contact me for any question.