Choosing A Counsellor – Part 1

Most practitioners agree that is the strength of the relationship between you and your therapist that is the best indicator for a successful counselling or psychotherapy outcome. If the fit between the two of you is good, then the chances are you, as the client, will be able to make positive and lasting changes to the way you live your life.
It can be difficult to know where to start when looking for a counsellor or psychotherapist. Traditionally, the best way might have been a personal recommendation from a friend or other acquaintance. Knowing someone has had a good experience with a particular therapist can be reassuring, but what if their style is better suited to your friend’s personality than it is to yours? And how about other considerations such as specialism or access? Your friend may have needed support for a recent bereavement, whereas you are looking for someone who can help with a growing sense of unease and disillusionment with life.  Or perhaps you would like to see a therapist who practises close to your home rather than near where you work?
Nowadays, the internet has opened up opportunities for therapists to advertise and for you to access the details of a wide choice of practitioners. Websites such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy’s ‘it’s good to talk’ (, United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy’s ‘Find A Therapist’ ( and Counselling Directory ( allow you to browse lists of counsellors and psychotherapists in your area who are either members of a professional body or whose credentials (qualifications, insurance etc) have been checked. Most sites also provide a facility to narrow down your search to, for example, theoretical approach or area of concern.
If you can’t find what you are looking for in one of these or other similar directories, a general search of the net is also an option. Try searching on ‘type of problem, service required, your town’ – for example, ‘anxiety counselling Brighton’. Please note, though, that therapists who only advertise independently will not have had to prove that they are properly qualified or insured and that they are committed to maintaining ethical and professional standards.
So now you have a shortlist of suitable-sounding counsellors and psychotherapists – what happens next? More on this in my next post…
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