According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 3.8% of people experience mood disorders or depression worldwide—roughly around 280 million people. This is just one of many signs that mental and emotional health disorders are rising globally. And unfortunately, they have significantly affected many individuals’ lives and relationships for the past few decades.
On another note, a study in 2021 stated that self-harm and suicide account for more than 48,000 fatalities, making suicide a leading cause of death in the United States. This far-reaching impact of mental health disorders emphasizes the need for awareness and prompt intervention.
It’s widely known that psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety, panic, and trauma can have profound adverse effects. They can manifest in various ways, influencing a person’s thoughts, emotions, and behavior.
If you’ve recently been depressed, anxious, or thinking of self-harm, please take the necessary steps and get professional help. And the first step is to consult a counseling therapist.
What is a Counseling Therapist
A counselling therapist is a registered clinical counselor who provides therapeutic support and guidance to individuals, couples, families, or groups. They’re skilled in helping people navigate through various challenges, emotional difficulties, life choices, and challenging mindsets.
Some may interchangeably use the terms “counseling therapist” and “psychiatrist,” but the two differ. Counseling professionals are more focused on talk therapy, while psychiatrists are medical doctors who can diagnose and prescribe medications. While they operate differently, both these mental health specialists, along with registered social workers, often work together to give their patients the best possible care.
The following steps will focus on how you can navigate finding a counseling that is the right fit for you.
5 Tips For Choosing The Best Counselling Therapists
1. Assess your Needs
Not all counseling therapists are the same. They have areas of expertise and diverse perspectives on mental health care. Some therapists may specialize in things like anxiety, depression, life transitions or grief. Keep in mind that different techniques suit different individuals and situations.
Ask yourself, “What would I like to work on?”. Reflecting on the recent challenges you’re struggling with and what kind of assistance would be most beneficial will help you to identify counselling therapists who are skilled in work with your unique concerns.
2. Check their Credentials
A reliable counseling expert must possess the necessary education, licenses, and accreditation. The counselor’s credentials show they’ve undergone formal education and training in counseling theories and ethics. In other words, these documents represent their competency level and authenticity. So, feel free to ask prospective candidates for proof of their certifications.
Furthermore, it would be best if a clinical counselor is a member of any accredited mental health institution. The Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) and the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC) are some of the most prominent.
These organizations have the highest quality and efficacy standards when providing psychological services. Therefore, you can trust that their registered members meet the legal requirements and are equipped with the foundational knowledge and skills for mental health care.
3. Evaluate their Therapeutic Approach
There are many types of therapeutic approaches. Each has a different focus and technique for addressing mental health problems. To give you more insights, here are some of the most widely available and employed therapy types:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
CBT focuses on changing negative thinking patterns and behaviors. It helps people identify their unhelpful beliefs and learn how to challenge them, ultimately leading to improved mental health.
A psychodynamic approach explores the unconscious mind to discover the root of an emotional problem. Counselors work with their patients to better understand unresolved issues and inner conflicts.
This type of therapy emphasizes self-exploration and personal growth. It’s all about helping you to find your identity as a person and to learn how to develop positive relationships with others.
Somatic psychotherapy (SP)
SP is a body-oriented strategy focusing on the connection between emotional distress and physical sensations. It helps you process your traumas and painful memories through movement, breath work, and other body-related activities. (Read about the therapeutic power of dance)
These are a few of the many therapeutic techniques you can explore. Consider your goals and objectives to decide which treatment is best for your situation. Then, look for a counseling specialist who specializes in that specific approach.
Research suggests that an important factor in therapeutic progress is the strength of the relationship you feel with your therapist. While education, credentials, therapeutic modalities and specialization are all valuable factors to consider, it’s important to not overlook how comfortable you feel with your counselling therapist. Good rapport will assist you in opening up, being honest and feeling comfortable to tackle the difficult topics and experiences you are facing. Exploring questions such as “Do I feel comfortable with my counselling therapist” and “do I feel heard by my counselling therapist?” can be important reflection points when exploring your relationship.
5. Consider the Fees and Payments
Fees can also be deciding factors when looking for the right counselor. To avoid interrupting your therapeutic process, it’s important that you feel comfortable with your therapy rate at the start of your therapeutic journey. This will assist in reducing financial stressors that could contribute to you stopping therapy unexpectedly due to financial difficulties. Therapy rates and fees may vary depending on location, counsellor experience and specialization. Open and honest discussion with your counselling therapist regarding rates, cancellation fees and payment methods can assist in maintaining an honest and transparent relationship with your counselling therapist, and allow you to make financial plans that support your therapeutic process.
Dealing with mental health disorders and issues is no easy feat. It requires long-term commitment and dedication to achieve the best results. Consider this guide as your starting point in finding the ideal counselling therapist.
Remember, counseling is a collaborative process. So, choose counselling therapists who can make you feel comfortable and supported. With the right counsellor, you can work towards improving your mental health and wellbeing.
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