I am often asked how should a client ‘know’ which therapist to work with and for many this is fraught with difficulty. First of all, people looking for therapy may be in a difficult place and there are literally thousands of therapists out there.
You might be confused by the various acronyms such as CBT, NLP, DBT and other statements of how the therapist works from Rogerian, Humanistic, Integrative and Psychodynamic for a start. Some are accredited or associate with a professional body or organisation such as IACP (Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy) while others have no affiliations at all. To add to the confusion, there is no regulation of therapists in Ireland and often discussion about the theoretical differences between counselling and psychotherapy. It could be argued that the client might easily be confused.
The following guide is designed to help clients make choices and is just a few ideas, I am more than happy to review and update this at any stage.
Talk to Family and Friends:
You may find that some of your friends or family have been with a therapist who they recommend. It may sound odd but referrals from people you know can be very useful. Many of my own clients come as referrals from previous clients. They will generally give you a sense of how the therapist works and how they found them.
Talk to your Doctor:
Your GP has undoubtedly referred patients to counsellors and therapists locally. This is often a good way to try to get a good match between you and your therapist. Reach out and ask the doctor for an opinion on who you could see.
Check out IACP and other websites:
The various professional bodies such as the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (www.iacp.ie) have search criteria for finding a therapist in your area. These are worth looking up to get a sense of who is working as a therapist.
What kind of person do you want as a therapist?
You might want to think about who you would prefer to see in terms of age, gender, experience etc. Maybe check the therapist website (if they have one) to get a sense of how they work and what areas they can help with. Many of us have testimonials from former clients which again help to get an idea of how the person works. My own testimonials reflect very much the use of humour and compassion in the room and for many years this has been helpful but may not be useful to all clients.
Call the therapist for a brief chat:
One you have a shortlist of therapists that you are considering why not give them a call. Ask them lots of questions. Have they worked with someone like you before, what hours they may be available? What is their own experience of working with clients? What are their qualifications? Do they work with supervisor (they should!).
During the call try to notice how you feel; were you feeling supported, challenged did they care enough to answer your questions. Is this someone you would feel comfortable talking to etc. was this someone you warmed to or didn’t like? We all have different needs and it may be useful to reflect on your feelings. Basically, if you don’t feel okay about the counsellor keep calling others until you find one that you feel can help you.
If I can be of any help to you in finding a therapist give me a call on 0866084292 send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and if I can help I will.
Feel free to come back to me with any suggestions to update this article. J