When you first start looking into the option of seeing a mental health counselor, people will advise you to find a counselor who is a good fit. This advice makes a lot of sense. A counselor who can relate to you and who you feel comfortable around will be able to help you make more progress than someone you do not feel comfortable around. But when you do start seeing various counselors and trying to find the right one, questions can come up. How can you actually tell whether a counselor is a good match? Here are some tips.
Feelings of Openness and Comfort
First of all, ask yourself how you feel in a certain counselor's office. Sure, seeing a therapist can bring up some feelings of worry and anxiety at first, but when you're with the right counselor, these feelings should melt away within a few minutes. You should feel comfortable in their office. Maybe you don't quite feel comfortable opening up about absolutely everything yet — that's normal — but overall, you feel like you're able to chat openly and be yourself. You should end the appointment feeling better than you did when you came in.
Experience Dealing With Issues Similar to Your Own
Most counselors, after you begin discussing your problem with them, will give you a little backstory into how they have helped other people in your shoes. For example, if you tell the counselor you've been struggling with an eating disorder, they may tell you that they've had many eating disorder patients over the years and that most of them have experienced improvements with counseling. If a counselor does not seem to have a lot of experience with the specific issues you're facing, that does not mean they're a bad counselor — just that they're probably not the best fit for you.
A Game Plan
You also want a counselor who is able to present you with a game plan that you find approachable and feasible. After you explain what you've been dealing with, they should present you with some steps that you'll take to address those issues. If the plan sounds like something you can handle, with the counselor's backup of course, then that is a good sign you've found a suitable counselor.
Sometimes it can take a couple of tries before you land in the office of the right counselor. But when you do, you'll know it. They'll have experience with your issues, they'll create a game plan that works for you, and most importantly, you'll feel relaxed and comfortable.
Contact a local mental health counselor to learn more.