How and who do I choose?
How to start finding and getting a counsellor.
I understand that not everyone will know what to expect in counselling, or what the outcome can be. There are a few hurdles to get through before you have you "initial" session, before you have that first face to face moment. Lets break it down.
The first thing to realise is that, you WANT to do therapy. You know you need that time to go through whatever is in your head, or work through the feelings you are dealing with. What about if you are feeling that low, you may think that talking about it won't help. Maybe you are feeling that your trapped with the thoughts in you mind and there is no escape.
How about if you are feeling fine but their is something niggling in your head, something that pops up at times and you are just not sure what it is.
So, the first thing to do is look for a therapist. Please remember, not everyone out there claiming to be a therapist is one. Look for one that has a membership of a group, like the BACP or UKCP. Why? Because they will have trained properly and will have been verified by that body. So for me, I'm a member of the BACP (British association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists). I am also a member of ACTO (Association for counsellors and therapists Online).
Next, have a look at their profiles and then go to their websites. This will help you workout if you feel you can work with them. Don't worry about the "jargon" they use, you can always ask them about that later, or in an enquiry form. When you have looked around the website and feel that this could be "the one", contact them. Ok, I get it, what do you say? How much do you tell them, even though you don't know them. Well, starting with Hi or hello will work. Maybe give them your name. You can tell them a little bit about what is happening for you. You don't need to give them the "wort's and all" information, just enough for them to know where you are coming from.
What happens next? They will come back to you. Now, I know right now you are worrying about what they might say, or maybe what they are thinking. Well, as a profession, we are non judgemental, it is something we hold as part or our ethics (that's for another day). Everything you say, will be just between you two, no one else. They will be thinking about the best way to respond to you, what they can say that will be of help, they don't want to hurt you in anyway.
Finally, the choice is yours. If you feel that they are not the right counsellor for you, then you can say, they wont get offended. They should be able to help you find the right counsellor for you if you want. I suppose the most important thing to remember is that, it's all about you. It's you choice who you work with.
So, what does it feel like working with your counsellor? As a counsellor, I come away from sessions head full about the client. I make the space with them, about them. I sometimes get an adrenaline rush, but that is about the work we have done. For the client, there will be sessions where they feel nothing has happened, days where the emotion just carries on in the brain and days when the light bulb has switched on. Working with a counsellor should make you feel secure, safe and supported. I have worked with clients where it has been like a meeting of minds, complete understanding, and openness. These clients have told me (when we have finished) that they have reached something they didn't know existed, a freedom of their mind.
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