It’s a difficult thing to do
Few people look for a therapist when they are in a good place emotionally or psychologically. This compounds the already daunting task. What should we be looking for anyway? How do we know a therapist is worth the money?
Why do it?
We are often reminded that good emotional and mental health is as important as good physical health. I am pleased to say that the stigma associated with emotional and mental health has lessened quite dramatically over the last decade or so. It is now accepted that seeking help from a qualified professional such as a counsellor or psychotherapist is one of the best ways of addressing these issues. We hear in the media about celebrities and others in the public eye who have opened up about their emotional and psychological problems, and how they have sought and received expert help from trained professionals.
What is important?
The most important thing about therapy is the relationship between the client and the therapist. It is the nature of this relationship that will define the possibilities within therapy. It is undeniably difficult to predict the possible nature of this relationship by reading the blurb on an online directory of counsellors or on a counsellor’s business website. Maybe there is something about the counsellor’s profile picture that makes you feel more positive or negative about the prospect of working with them. Maybe there is the location and the cost, practical matters, that influence your choice.
How do I know who to choose?
It is always best to choose a counsellor who is a member of a professional body such as the BACP, and an even better idea to make sure they are listed on a voluntary register such as the BACP Register. Overall however, the only real way to discover what it’s like to work with any particular therapeutic counsellor is to give it a go. If it doesn’t feel right you will be able to discuss this with your counsellor and come to a decision whether to continue or end therapy with them. They may be able to refer you to another counsellor, or you may be able to find a different therapist online or through any other means.
Who’s in charge?
The important thing to remember is that it is you who will decide who you want to work with. Few if any counsellors would choose to continue working with a client who didn’t feel safe in their sessions, or who didn’t feel able to make a connection with them.
What are my options?
We often hear about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and this can help many clients to work with the issues that they are facing. Many workplace schemes and health insurers will refer members to a CBT practitioner and this can be very successful.
What are the benefits of private counselling?
When we look for self funded psychotherapy, however, we will have access to much broader options and the chance to really work on our own personal growth and development. We will be able to find a therapist who can support us as we journey into self exploration.
Sessions can be ongoing for a longer period than employer funded schemes and insurance funded therapy, and sometimes it is more beneficial to work for this longer period.There is no obligation, and yet in private counselling we have the opportunity to work at a deeper level; maybe to explore the path we have taken to get to where we are now; maybe to explore the possibilities for the future.