How To Tell If A Counselor Is The Right One For You

Finding the right counselor is a bit like finding the right partner, the right pair of shoes, or the right apartment. Just because someone is a good counselor does not mean they are a good counselor for you, and just because someone isn't the right counselor for you doesn't mean they're not an excellent counselor in general. It's all about finding what feels right and what feels comfortable. So how do you know whether a counselor is a good fit? Here are some tips and guidelines.

1. Do you feel relaxed around them?

When you first meet the counselor and throughout your first session, pay attention to how you are feeling. If by the end of the session you feel like you're mostly being yourself and chatting openly, this is a very good sign! On the other hand, if you find yourself feeling on-edge or unable to open up around a counselor, they may not be the right fit.

2. Does the guidance they offer seem approachable?

Counselors typically listen to your woes and worries and then offer some advice or guidance. The guidance they offer might seem a little challenging. After all, they are often asking you to change what you've been doing or try a new approach. However, at the same time, their suggestions should feel like they are within the realm of possibility. If the counselor makes a suggestion and you think "Yes, I can do that with some effort," that's a good sign.

3. Do they have experience with the issues you're dealing with?

Most counselors have a specialty, to some degree. One counselor may work with a lot of adults who are struggling with self-confidence. Another may work with patients who are having trouble in their relationships. If a counselor admits they have little to no experience with the primary issues you need help with, then you can probably find a better fit.

4. Do the goals they have for you line up with your own?

Before you even visit a counselor, you should have some idea of what you want to get out of the experience. Maybe you want to improve your communication, or perhaps you want to get better at dealing with stress. After a session or two, your counselor should talk to you about goals and offer up some suggestions for what they think you should aim to achieve. You want these goals to seem achievable and to line up with your own.

Finding the right counselor can take a little trial and error, but when you get it right, you'll know. 

To learn more, contact a resource that offers counseling services.