Perhaps you’re thinking there is something in your life you would like to change. Maybe you think you would like to find a Counsellor or Psychotherapist but you’re not quite sure how to go about finding the right person to help you?
A good first step is to do an internet search for a “Counsellor near me”. You might also ask friends, or others in the helping professions, for recommendations.
Another option is to check out the websites of professional associations, such as PACFA, the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia, for accredited Counsellors and/or Psychotherapists in your area.
A good way to find out more about a particular Counsellor or Psychotherapist is to check their website. You should be able to see their qualifications, accreditations and professional memberships. Membership of a professional association means that the therapist has completed appropriate training, and adheres to strict professional and ethical standards.
An accredited Counsellor and Psychotherapist is professionally qualified. I completed post-graduate study in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy with the Metavision Institute, and my training is accredited with PACFA. This means that it meets certain strict standards, and I am bound by a strict Code of Ethics.
You will probably be sharing some deep, emotional issues, so it’s important to find someone you trust and feel safe with. Someone who is able to understand your concerns and is able to relate to your experiences with empathy and compassion. Their role is not to judge you or offer advice, unless asked for.
Making an Appointment
It is a good idea to ring first, to meet your therapist over the phone before booking an appointment. This will help you to decide if this is the right person for you. Some therapists specialise in specific areas of interest, which may not be what you are looking for. My particular interest is in supporting children and families, although it is likely that we will discuss other issues that may arise during a session.
At this time, you can also ask about fees and payment terms. Appointments usually last for about 50 minutes, although some counsellors may suggest booking in for a longer session for your first visit.
Your First Visit
At your first visit you will probably be asked for basic information such as your name and address, your usual doctor or medical practitioner, and whether you have seen a therapist before. You may also be asked to sign a Therapy Agreement. This sets out details such as confidentiality, and the agreed fee. Your counsellor will explain their particular mode of therapy, and what to do if you meet up socially.
Then you will be invited to discuss the reasons for your visit. It is a good idea to have thought about this before your appointment.
The session often starts with a question such as “what brings you?” The role of a Counsellor/Psychotherapist is to help you to explore whatever is bothering you. The session is all about you, and the therapist will help you to work with whatever is uppermost in your life at the time. The aim is to help you to grow in awareness and understanding.
It is normal to feel a bit nervous about asking for help. An experienced Counsellor/Psychotherapist will probably have had similar experiences. They will have spent many hours working through their own issues in preparation for meeting you.