A Brief Guide to Seeking Counseling Services: 5 Tips for Choosing a Professional Counselor for Your Family

How to Choose the Best Professional Counselor for You and Your Family

In 2016, there were 8 million divorces in the U.S. Often divorce can be far from amicable or silent. Some divorces are filled with anger between the spouses and are extremely upsetting, even traumatic, for the children.

Sometimes, the families that go through divorce may have been dysfunctional for an extended period. However, even relatively healthy families can go through difficult times too, even if divorce isn’t the likely outcome. If you’re struggling with marital problems or your family has experienced some prolonged difficulties you’ve been unable to resolve on their own, it may be worthwhile to consider individual, marital or family therapy. Pro-actively addressing issues thru therapy early only increases the likelihood of success. Counseling can be a powerful tool for change and healing in people’s lives.

Therapists can help you uncover the underlying cause of the issues, offer a fresh, unbiased perspective and provide the tools to solve or cope with them more effectively. Read on to learn 5 tips on how to select the best professional counselor for you, your marriage or your family.

1. Do Some Research

Deciding to ask for professional help as a family is a huge step towards resolving lingering issues. You’ll learn how to communicate more effectively, recognize each other’s needs and learn important ways to demonstrate respect towards one another. The same applies to married couples who are considering divorce and those who are not.

Before you make an appointment do some research first. Look for the therapist’s education, credentials, and at their online reviews. See what past clients say about them and check for any complaints with your state licensing body or national association.

2. Talk to the Counselor on the Phone First

If you’re nervous about going to the therapists’ office for the first time, reach out to them and ask to speak with them by phone first. You’re entitled to ask questions about the counselor, their background and the counseling they provide. The conversation can give you some basic information about their approach, how they can help and ultimately, allow you to decide if they’re a good fit.

Previous work with cases addressing issues similar to your own is one of the things to ask about when you speak with the therapist. Ask them if they’ve provided counseling for your specific issue in the past and how often.

3. Consider Rates and Your Budget

When you start looking for a counselor be sure to consider the cost. Most counseling services are covered by insurance. Let the therapist know what type of insurance you have and their office should be able to determine coverage for counseling prior to your initial counseling session or you can contact your insurance company directly.

Therapy can be expensive, so you need to make a determination in advance if you have coverage or if you will be being paying out of pocket for counseling. Many therapists offer an adjusted rate for their self-pay clients. So you can ask about an adjustable rate when you can to inquire about their counseling services.

4. Choose an Experienced Therapist

If you’re wondering how to find a counselor that is qualified to help you, consider the amount of experience they have. Some therapists who offer a lower rate may be fresh out of graduate school and still working towards obtaining their clinical hours required for licensing or more concerning, struggling to maintain a caseload. Experienced therapists have worked with many couples, individuals and families and completed 10’s of 1000’s of hours of therapy over the course of their career. This experience has value. A therapist’s lengthy experience also indicates they’ve successfully conducted counseling for an extended period of time and that their services are still in demand from both local referral sources, as well as, clients.

5. Recognize that therapy requires work on your part

You can have the best therapist in the world, but if you don’t apply what you learn in therapy and have a willingness to change some patterns in your life the situation isn’t likely to improve.

Taking ownership of what you learn in therapy and applying it to your daily life is essential. Therapists can provide you with the tools to succeed and help you work thru difficult and complex emotional experiences, past and present. But ultimately it comes down to the individual to bring about the change they are seeking. Change can be difficult but it can also lead to incredible transformations in your life and in your relationships.

Make an Appointment with a Licensed Counselor today

Individual, marital or family issues can have a far-reaching and long-lasting effect for the members of a family and the people in your life. A professional counselor is trained to give you the tools you need to overcome some of life’s most challenging issues. You can do it. We can help.
For more therapy and counseling articles, visit our blog.

Ready to schedule your first appointment with us? Contact us today to get the help you need and we’ll reach out soon!