5 ways to find the right counsellor for you

You’ve decided that talking to your friends isn’t giving you the help you need, and you want to find a counsellor to help you reach your goals for a healthier you.  But where do you start?!  Here are five things to consider as you start your search for a counsellor.

1.  Identify the area you’re wanting to work on.  While most counsellors can help you learn ways to cope with anxiety or depression, not everyone is trained to help you process trauma, or help you and your partner work on your relationship.  Knowing what you need help with helps you narrow down your search. 

2.  Look for a qualified therapist.  In BC, there is no regulation on counsellors.  This means that anyone can be a counsellor without any formal training.  So consider the training that you are looking for.  The counsellor designations below have all received a Masters level of training.  They also have to meet high requirements in order to get these letters behind their name.  That means they’ve had a certain amount of hours in the counselling room before they see you.  They have either passed a rigorous exam or written a thesis paper to prove they have the solid training and understanding of emotional and mental health before they even hang a shingle.

RCC – Registered Clinical Counsellor.  These people have received their Masters of Arts in Counselling Psychology or a similar degree title.  This requires 2 years of post-graduate training.  They are associated with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors and will most likely be covered by your health care benefits.  

CCC – Canadian Certified Counsellor.  These people have also received their Masters of Arts in Counselling Psychology.  They are registered with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.  This Association is Canada wide, and requires therapists to complete a certain number of continuing education credits every 3 years to ensure they are providing you with excellent care.

RSW – Registered Social Worker.  These therapists have received their Masters in Social Work and are governed by the BC College of Social Workers.  Having a College means that they are highly regulated and have certain requirements for staying in the College.

PhD – Psychologist.  These therapist have worked the hardest out of all of us.  They have received their Doctorate in Psychology and are governed by the College of Psychologists of BC.  A lot of your health care benefits will say they only cover psychologists. 

3.  Talk to your friends or colleagues.  Word of mouth is quite often a great way of finding a therapist.  Ask your friend about their counsellor, but ask questions beyond whether it worked or not.  This could be a whole other blog post!  Ask questions like:  What did/didn’t you like about them?  Do they let you lead the session or are they more directive?   What is their office like?  How long did you see them?  Did you reach your goals for counselling?

4.  Do your research!  Google is a great tool, but it can send you down a rabbit hole if you aren’t careful.  Some great sites to check out are bc-counsellors.org, CCPA, Psychology Today, or counsellingbc.com.  These sites have all of the types of therapists noted above.  You can search according to the issue that you are wanting help with, and the area that you live in.  You will get a list of therapists that are available to serve you.

5.  Keep doing your research!  Looking at a profile on one of these sites is a good first glimpse at therapists that match your search criteria.  But it’s just a snapshot.  Take another step and look at their website.  Are they speaking to you?  Do they actually talk about the issues that you are facing so that you know they can help you? Do you like how they speak in their website?  Quite often that’s how they talk in session too.  Is it easy to, book with them, contact them and then find them?   

Thinking about getting started?  If you have done this research and feel like you’d like to see if I’m a good fit for you, I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation!  You can use the button below to book now!  And if I’m not a good fit, but you want help finding someone, please contact me and I’ll help you the best I can.