Even counsellors / therapists listed in Psychology Today may not be the right fit for you. No doubt you will want to find someone who is not only qualified to practice, but who is also expert enough in his/her work to be able to help you move forward noticeably in your quest for a more satisfying life.
A counsellor / therapist who is backed up by membership in a College of Practice is a useful starting point, but not sufficient in itself. It is also not necessarily enough to find someone with many years experience as a counsellor. Indeed some research indicates that therapists, unlike test pilots or accountants, show no demonstrated expertise with increased experience.
Nevertheless there is extensive evidence that psychotherapy is effective. To get the most out of your counselling experience, no matter the approach, it is imperative that you feel comfortable with your counsellor / therapist, and that you feel trusting of and understood by him/her.
To establish whether or not a counsellor / therapist is a good fit for you, it is important to interview him/her. A counsellor should always welcome this opportunity. Ask as many questions as you require to ascertain his/her expertise, and preferred methods/approaches to counselling. (S)he should be comfortable with this process. Ask how (s)he knows that (s)he gets good results and how soon you should expect to experience some change. Assess how individualized his/her approach is to your particular situation and life experience and that (s)he is aware of and can work with your cultural, ethnic and language background.
It matters that you be able to sense that you are being heard and well listened to, and that you can safely and comfortably communicate with your therapist / counsellor. You should feel comfortable enough to correct any misperceptions your therapist may have about you and the story you are telling about yourself.
Remember, it is your life, your time and your money. You are paying for this service and deserve that it be professional, competent and effective.
Jack Watkins, B.A., M.S.W.
October 20, 2014