Time To Talk - How do I choose the right counsellor?

Updated: Sep 1

Today is ‘Time to Talk Day’. I encourage anyone to talk to friends, family or feel free to reach out to me if you are suffering in silence. 


Speaking from experience, talking to friends, family or picking up the phone to a charity is a step in the right direction to break the silence and is the first step to admitting that we need help. If you have already done this, then well done you, as it is not easy.  


We already know that 25% of people identify with a mental health issue at some point. So, the other 75% may have been too afraid to come forward about how they feel. According to the World Health Organisation 615 million people suffer with anxiety and depression. Every 10 seconds someone makes a call to The Samaritans. So, you are not alone. 


Once how you are feeling is out in the open, the next step is to decide to get some advanced help. This may be in the form of online counselling, talking groups, help through work in the form of an EAP, workshops or depending on your situation, visiting the doctor. 


One of the key things that often goes through people's minds is ‘How do I choose the right counsellor?’ or ‘Will I be able to open up to them?. 


If someone you know has a counsellor they can recommend then that would be a good place to start. If not, here’s a few tips on how you can feel more comfortable. 


It’s an extremely personal experience and what many successful counsellors or coaches will do is to say a little bit about themselves on their website. This is where I would suggest you go first. What you want to know is why they do what they do and how their bio makes you feel. One particular counsellor says,


“It’s not about all my experience and how many achievements I have, it’s about touching the hearts of the people who are already feeling vulnerable and connecting with them enough to help them make the step to help themselves”.


I couldn’t agree more. 


Next, If there isn’t a video of them, have a look at their blog, as again, how they write and the topics they talk about can give some insight into them. Once you’ve done a little bit of research I definitely suggest reaching out by email or by phone to find out more and start the initial conversation. Every single person that picks up the phone or drafts an email to a counsellor for online counselling or face to face sessions, is always nervous and anxious so be kind to yourself. It is the counsellors role to be responsive, reassuring, empathetic and friendly. 


Be prepared to answer some questions about yourself, for example, ‘What’s the reason for contacting me?’, ‘How long have you been feeling the way you do?’, ‘Have you seen a counsellor before?’ or ’What you are expecting from the counselling process?’ are just a few. Writing down some of the things you have been experiencing is a good preparation technique so that it helps you to be clear when asked.


This means that they can start to determine how they can help you or they may be able to refer you to someone more specific. On average a person will see a counsellor between 8- 10 times until they feel mentally strong enough to reduce sessions, stop sessions or move to more of a maintenance schedule (this is where you can pop back to see them if and when the feelings arise again because most of the history and groundwork has been done plus it should also now be someone you trust from building a solid relationship with).


The aim of many successful counsellors is to empower you to self manage and help you go back into society a much more confident person than when you came in. There are of course times that this can be shorter or longer. Everyone one is different and people have many different experiences that will determine this. 


The first initial session will start to build your relationship, the counsellor is not expecting you to come in and tell them everything in one session although you may want to. It takes a little more time for many people to open up and they are used to that. 


Anyone that steps into the counselling or coaching profession already has a passion for people and a genuine purpose to help others so it’s just a matter of you being comfortable to go ahead and make a start in your journey to a healthier state of mind.


If you are already halfway considering it, then take my advice, it works. It’s definitely time to talk. Take action today!


Here are a few helpful websites and helplines: 

The Samaritans

https://www.samaritans.org/

Tel: 116 123

Mind

https://www.mind.org.uk/

Tel:+44-300-123-3393


You can find an accredited counsellor and coach at:

Accredited Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists

https://www.accph.org.uk/

©2020 by Modern Mind Group.