Choosing A Counsellor
It may seem at first to be a challenging task to choose your Counsellor. However, you may begin to simplify your search by first identifying your personal priorities for a Counsellor that fits you. Perhaps, you prefer to see a female or a male therapist or someone who is not too far away. You may want a Counsellor with certain training, such as EMDR, or perhaps someone with a certain level of experience, who has been practicing for a while. Other factors to consider are availability and flexibility. Once you have identified such preferences, you can start to narrow your list.
Before you choose a Counsellor however, it is CRUCIAL that you understand that in Canada, anyone can call themselves a 'Counsellor', and be paid to provide their 'Counselling Services'. . . This means Buyer Beware. It is therefore up to You, as a consumer, to make sure:
Your Counsellor has appropriate training and credentials. Do they hold a Master's Degree in Counselling Psychology, and was this degree obtained from a legitimate source, such as SFU or UBC? If you do not recognize where their training is from, you may want to research it first.
Even better, make sure your Counsellor is a registered member of an accredited Association of Counsellors. For instance, in BC it is best that they hold the credentials of being a Registered Clinical Counsellor, or RCC, i.e. they are Registered with the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC). This Association has stringent academic and practicum standards set for registration, which can be viewed at http://bc-counsellors.org/.
Alternately, or in addition to being an RCC, it would be advisable that they be a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC), ie that they be Certified with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA). Please see http://www.ccpa-accp.ca/en for more information on this association and standards set for membership.
When You Meet With a Counsellor, Make Sure You Have a Good Alliance.
The therapeutic alliance, the relationship between you and your Counsellor, is the largest single contributor to a successful and positive Counselling experience. You will know you have a good alliance when you feel comfortable with and trust your Counsellor. A good therapeutic alliance forms when a Counsellor is empathic, supportive, a great listener, non-judgmental and genuinely warm and respectful. You deserve no less!
For more information on this, please take a look at what the first Counselling session is like.