How To Choose The Right Psychotherapist or Counsellor For You

February 28, 2013

First things First

A recommendation or referral from your G.P. or a trusted friend is the safest way to find a counsellor or psychotherapist.

Another way is to check either online, in the telephone book or advertisements in your local paper.

Websites have the benefit of providing you with a lot more information than a telephone book or an advertisement.

Initial Contact

Once you have chosen your preferred therapist(s) phone them or send an email. This is an opportunity to outline (in short) what is on your mind and what you would like to get from any proposed counselling / therapy.

If the initial communication is by voicemail be sure to leave your contact details and phone number. Please let the therapist know if and when you are available to take a return call. This is to ensure your confidentiality is safeguarded.

Some questions that you might want to ask include:

  • The cost and length of each session.
  • What are your qualifications and training?
  • Are you a member of a professional body? (e.g.
  • How long have you been practicing?
  • What are your office hours and availability?

Initial Session

Your first session is very important. It gives you an opportunity to figure out if this therapist is right for your needs and it gives the therapist the opportunity to assess whether they feel competent enough to work with you.

Remember, pay attention to your gut feelings. If you aren’t comfortable with the person in front of you it is best to move on and try somebody else. This is because the therapeutic relationship that forms between client and therapist is a very important factor in all psychotherapy and counselling.

You can also ask about their policy on confidentiality.

Some things to be mindful of include:

  • Therapists who try to get you to commit to long term work straight away.
  • Therapists who evade some or all of your questions.
  • Therapists who don’t belong to a Professional Body.
  • Therapists who seem more interested in getting you to ‘sign on’ as a client and not paying attention to your experiences / issues.
  • Therapists who adopt views / opinions that are in contradiction to your own beliefs.

At the end of the initial meeting, some people know whether (or not) they want to book another session straight away. Others need time to decide what is best for them. So, do what is most comfortable for you.

Remember, this could be the beginning of a most worthwhile and stimulating process, so it’s important to get the best start you can.

Kevin Solon


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