If you have never stepped foot into a counseling session, you might not know what to expect… Counseling varies among therapists, prices, types of therapy, and issues that counsellors can address. Here are some tips on searching for a “good counselor” a.k.a. The counselor that is going to help YOU with your specific need.
1. Decide the TYPE of counselor you need.
Like mentioned in the “About the Blog” page, therapy techniques are not *one size fits all*, and the same goes for counselors. Just because a counselor is a GOOD counselor does not mean they are the RIGHT counselor for you. If you know why you are going to counseling (anxiety, stress, depression, etc.), you know what type of counselor you are looking for – someone who specializes in these areas. If you don’t know exactly why you are going to counseling, do some research on the feelings you are experiencing and try to name them. This will help you to decide what type of counselor you need. Keep in mind there are licensure regulations that ensure professional counselors meet certain criteria for ethical practice. Do you research on your counselor before you make your first session. It is important that you get the very best help for your situation. Certain issues may not require a licensed counselor, but it is still important to know your counselor’s background and how they came to be a “professional”.
2. Delegate a TIME that fits your schedule.
The first session is generally a “Get to know you” introductory type session. This is the time for you and the counselor to ask each other questions and learn about each other. This is also when you set up a plan for your next session and following sessions. Go ahead and have an idea of days and times that work for you. This will help you be prepared for that first session.
3. Discuss any FEES related to the sessions.
Similar to other professions, counseling isn’t free. There are some counselors who are able to offer pro-bono cases for clients, and other centers who offer free counseling. However, most Licensed Professional Counselors require payment for their sessions. This may be a red flag to some people, but think of it this way: When you get a cold, you go to the doctor, pay doctor’s fees, buy medicine, and in a matter of time, you feel better. OR you don’t go to the doctor, you don’t buy medicine, and you stay sick or heal at a much slower rate. The same cycle works for your mental health. It is just as important to care for your mind and psychological well-being as it is for you to care for your body. Prices range from $50-$200+ per session, and most clinics have set prices. Feel free to talk to your counselor about what price is comfortable for your budget, and if their prices are a bit out of range, you can ask for a payment plan. Many insurance companies are now offering care for mental health and counseling sessions, so keep this in mind too!
4. Determine what it TAKES to be a Good Counselor.
This step is easy. A good counselor is whoever the right counselor is for you. Make a list of what you are looking for in your counselor. You don’t ever have to show this list to anyone, so it can be purely honest. For instance, you may only be comfortable with a female counselor – if so, put it on the list. Their age might be a concern for you, so put your preferred age range on the list. Pricing for sessions, location of clinic, preference of private practice or large counseling clinic – These are some of the things that could make up your list. If you are religious, carefully consider how this may affect your relationship with your counselor. Once you have your list of what makes the right counselor for you, then you will know what a *Good Counselor* means for you.
If you need help finding a counselor in your area, feel free to use this Tool from the America Psychological Association. It is a search engine that provides information on thousands of counselors all over the U.S.
Counseling is a great way to promote mental stability and secure your mental health. It is nothing to be ashamed of, and if you are in need of counseling, I hope you will use these steps in find the right counselor for you!