How to Find a Counselor that is the Best Fit

Posted on January 15, 2013

 

If you are considering individual, marriage/relationship or family counseling, there are some key questions to ask yourself before you begin any counseling relationship.  Finding the best counselor for you is a vital and important step in the process.  Here are five simple questions to ask yourself before you contact any counseling agency.

1)      Do I prefer a male or female counselor to help me?

Often times, a person will feel more comfortable with a counselor who is the same gender.  In relationship counseling, it is important to go with a counselor who is the same gender as the person in the relationship who may be more apprehensive about going to counseling.   This will assist both persons in the relationship to feel more relaxed in the counseling process.  When contacting any counseling agency, be sure to ask them if they have a variety of male counselors and female counselors available.

2)      Does my counselor need to have the same value system I ascribe to?

It’s vital to find a counselor who has a strong character and value system, especially if you need counseling for your children.  You want someone who will encourage your child to make wise and discerning decisions.  Having a counselor who is authentic and genuine offers a strong counseling bond, which provides an overall effective counseling experience.

When you contact a counseling agency to make an appointment, ask if you can speak to the recommended counselor directly before the appointment to answer any value questions you have.  Or ask for any biographical information about the recommended counselor.  This will aid in you understanding your counselor’s background better.

3)      Does my counselor have to have the same religious background I have?

It’s crucial to find a counselor who has the same religious worldview you have.  It is not necessarily important in the style of worship but more important in knowing your counselor believes and practices the same religious worldview you have. 

If you don’t ascribe to a particular religion, don’t let this detour you from seeking counseling.  All counselors are trained to come alongside any individual, couple or family who has a differing and/or non-religious or cultural perspective.  It is important to ask your counselor’s worldview when you meet them for the first time.  This will help you assess if they are still the best counselor for you.

4)      Do I need a counselor who has experienced similar issues I’m dealing with currently?

 Having a counselor who has experienced your present struggle can really offer a greater sense of hope to the counseling relationship.  It can help the person feel more at ease in realizing they have a greater empathy and understanding of your struggle.  When you contact the counseling agency, be sure to briefly share with the counseling staff your struggle, this will help the attending person to make the best recommendation for you.  The attending counseling staff is trained to know the counselors and their expertise.

 5)     What expertise should I expect my counselor to have?

It’s imperative your counselor has acquired the necessary training required for licensure in your particular state.  Master degree and PhD level counselors are the highest levels of training that can be acquired.  If asked, all counselors are responsible to disclose their level of training and expertise with any person.

The most effective counselors are ones who work with people who have specific needs.  Even though a counselor is trained to work with most any person; it doesn’t mean this is best suited for the community.  Make sure you find a counselor who specifically works with your given struggle, has many years of expertise and has achieved the required licensure within your given state.

Getting a good counseling referral from your pastor, co-worker, friend and/or family member can really help get you pointed in the right direction.  The Internet can be very helpful as well but you need to investigate with the given questions in order to feel really comfortable with your decision. Remember not all counselors are the same and just because one counselor didn’t feel right for you; doesn’t mean you need to be discouraged and give up on the decision making process.  Once you find the counselor who is right for you, the journey of self-discovery will last a lifetime.

 

Written by: Sally Groff, LMFT

Sally Groff is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Registered Play Therapist in Indianapolis, IN.   She is the Clinical Director of Groff & Associates and is an AAMFT Approved Supervisor.  Her passion is to offer Godly and professional care to families.  Her desire is to celebrate great families and for our children to be ready and equipped for a bright and promised future.  Contact Sally Groff to discuss your family situation with her.

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NzE6Imh0dHA6Ly9ncm9mZmFuZGFzc29jaWF0ZXMuY29tL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvMy1ncm9mZl9oZWFkZXIucG5nIjt9PC9saT48L3VsPg==