You’ve decided you cannot continue trying to deal with your struggles by yourself. Did you know that research shows that your therapeutic alliance-the strength and connection of the relationship you build with your therapist-is a better predictor of the effectiveness of your therapy than the kind of therapy that is used.
That’s why it is important to put the research ahead of your first appointment and find the right fit so you.
There are a lot of therapists out there and many of them are very good. But, you want to find someone you connect with, that is skilled and experienced in helping with the kind of challenges you have.
3 steps to help you to find the right counsellor in Halifax.
1)Put in the Groundwork
Use a therapist directory like Psychology Today, Therapy Owl, Theravive, or Open Path Collective to search for a listing of therapist in Halifax These directories all have search tools where you can narrow down the results to people who are in your area who specialize in working with the kind of concerns you have. Most people will have a short description of their services on these directory pages. But don’t stop there. Make a short list of people who sound great in their directory listing and then go check out their private practice website to find out more about them. Do they seem like the kind of person that you can connect with? Do they seem to specialize in the things that matter to you?
2) Ask the Right Questions
It’s not uncommon for counsellors to offer free consultation calls. Not all helping professionals offer these, but many do. Set up an appointment for a free phone consultation and briefly discuss your concerns with the therapists to see how you feel talking with them. Do you feel a connection? Does it feel easy to open up to them? Even in a brief call you can often get a sense of whether you feel that it will be a good fit.
While you have them on the line, there are some important issues to consider when finding the right counsellor for you.
-Make sure they have training, education and experience working with someone who has the kind of concerns that you do. It’s OK to ask really specific questions to you potential therapist about how long they have been working with this kind of problem and how many people they see in the course of a week or a month who have the same kind of problem as you. After all, you wouldn’t want to go and see someone for marriage & couples therapy who had only ever read about it in a book or who had seen a handful of couples over the course of their career. You want to meet with someone who is familiar and comfortable working with the kinds of concerns you have.
-It’s also a great idea to explore how they work with the issue. There are so many acronyms for the kinds of therapy techniques out there (EMDR, CBT, DBT, EFT, ACT, EFFT, SFT) that you want to cut through the jargon and find out how this plays out in therapy. Trust me. This is really important. All of these, and many others, have been shown to be clinically effective ways of working with people to resolve their problems. But they all look at the problem a bit differently and the steps to helping can look quite different. Going to a session of EMDR therapy is not going to be the same experience as a therapist who uses ACT or SFT.
No doubt therapy is about growing and learning new things, but if the way the therapist explains how she will work with your concern just doesn’t seem like the right fit for you, building that alliance we have been talking about is going to be tough, even if she is a great therapist.
–Find out what their designation is (RSW, RPsych, RCT) and make sure that you health insurance covers services provided by someone with that designation. Not all insurance companies cover services from all of these designations, so make sure to check it out before you book your session. You should also ask about direct billing if this is going to be a deal breaker for you. Not all therapists can direct bill for all insurance programs. If this is a concern for you, look into it before you book that first session.
–Confirm the method of payment for fees, cancellation policy, hours of operation and make sure all these things will work for you.
-Explore any other questions you might have such as how long are sessions, how often do your typically see clients, can you do video calls and anything else that you’d like to know about going to therapy.
3) Follow Your Instincts
Remember, your choice is not final. It will take a few sessions to see if you feel like therapy is helping and to get the -therapeutic alliance- built. But it’s important to know that if you don’t feel comfortable after a few sessions, you can always find another therapist to work with. You’re the boss and you don’t need to feel badly. I would encourage you to share your concerns with your therapist and at least make her aware of your concerns. Perhaps she can adapt what she is doing to better suit you. If you feel sure that you don’t want to continue with your therapist, she can likely provide you with some suggestions of other therapists to explore to see if you can find a better fit.
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A COUNSELLOR?
If you are looking for a therapist, I encourage you to put the suggestions to the test. You can start by checking out my directory profiles (Psychology Today and Open Path) and my website https://restorecounselling.ca. If you feel like we’d be a good match, book in for a free 15-minute consultation call to help you decide. I look forward to hearing from you!
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