how to choose a counsellor

August 21st, 2021

How can you know if a counsellor or therapist is right for you? Here are some suggestions.

check their education and credentials

Qualified counsellors and therapists in BC have a master’s degree in counselling psychology or a related field. Look for the Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) or Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) designation. This confirms they have the appropriate education and training.

take advantage of the free consultation

Most counsellors offer a brief consultation at no charge so you can ask questions and get a sense of what they’re like. When you talk to them, how do you feel? It’s a good sign if you like their “vibe” or feel you could open up to them. It’s okay if you don’t feel that way too. Go with your gut. Research has found the relationship between counsellor and client is one of the most important aspects of change, which is why it’s important to find the right fit.

find out what therapeutic approaches they use

These are also called modalities. Most counsellors and therapists offer a blend of approaches these days. This can include a focus on thoughts and actions (such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT); arts-based approaches; a focus on the body (such as Sensorimotor); emotion-based approaches (such as EFT, or Emotion Focused Therapy); and many more. Think about what you would prefer to focus on and find out if the counsellor offers that approach.

ask friends and family if they know any good counsellors

While everyone’s experience is different, it can be helpful to start with trusted people’s recommendations.

ask if they participate in ongoing professional development

This includes supervision, which is an ongoing check-in with another experienced practitioner to get guidance and support. It can also be workshops, trainings or other kinds of learning.

ask if they see their own therapist

You want a counsellor that not only talks the talk but walks the walk.

Aleesa Sutton
M.A., RCC
Cinnamon Counselling
Suite 202, 1651 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, V5L 3Y3

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