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Choosing the Right Counselor: It’s All About the Relationship!

Choosing the Right Counselor: It’s All About the Relationship!

By Rachel Gall, MA, LPC, NCC

Finding a counselor can be a daunting task. How do you sort through all the counselors out there to find someone who can help you?

Turns out it’s all about fit. Over 1000 studies show that a good relationship between you and your counselor is crucial to your success. Being in counseling can be an emotionally challenging experience, and it is important that you find someone you feel comfortable, safe, and connected with.

Look for a counselor who:

  • You feel open with over the phone and when you meet in person
  • Gives you the sense they are knowledgeable and nonjudgmental
  • Gives you a clear and meaningful explanation about how they do counseling
  • Regularly consults with their colleagues and supervisors
  • Asks for feedback about your work together
  • Encourages discussions about differences: ethnicity, gender and sexuality, culture, spirituality, etc.
  • Helps you develop clear goals for counseling, and you notice movement towards those goals

Be an informed consumer:

  • Shop around before you choose someone. You can even make a few appointments with different people.
  • Ask about your counselor’s training and licensure
  • Ask yourself, is this the right time for counseling? Do I have the time, money, and motivation to commit to weekly counseling sessions at this time?
  • Check out your counselor at the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), the state agency which regulates counselors. Make sure your therapist is licensed and if they have ever had any complaints: dora.state.co.us
  • Know that there are all different kinds of counselors (professional counselors, social workers, couple and family therapists, psychologists, etc.). Each will have a different area of specialty and a different perspective on how people change.