Choosing Your Counselor
No two people are exactly alike. And no two counselors are exactly alike, either. So, it only stands to reason that no counselor is necessarily the "right" counselor for everyone.
If you are currently looking for counseling help, it might be a good idea to call and speak to several different clinicians, to get a sense of their personal "style." Hearing someone's voice, and how they respond as you talk for a few minutes, can give you a sense of whether or not there's enough of a "click" for the two of you to work well together.
My personal style is dynamic and interactive. I like to listen attentively, then respond with feedback, so you can tell right away if we're on the same page. My questions and comments are designed to help you understand yourself more deeply, so you can make the choices and decisions that will get you the results you're looking for.
Some things to think about as you interview counselors:
- Do you have a preference for a man or woman counselor?
- If you want to use insurance to help pay for counseling, is this person in your plan?
- As you speak to a counselor, how do you respond to their voice? How about the speed and energy of their speech? Can you understand them easily?
- Is this person focused and attentive? Or do they seem distracted?
- As you describe why you're seeking counseling, do they seem to "get" you? Do they understand your concerns?
- Do they have any experience working with the types of issues that you're facing?
- What method or theory does this person use as a framework? Examples include psychodynamic, existential, cognitive-behavioral, person-centered, and feminist theory. There are numerous theories that counselors might use, and they should be able to briefly describe their method to you.
Many counselors use a combination of theories. I use a combination of existential and feminist.
From an existential point of view, I want to help you figure out what gives your life meaning. How do you understand the things that happen in your life? When something unexpected happens, how do you make sense of it? This might include bringing in aspects of your spirituality or values.
Feminist theory is more about power and privilege. Feminists ask questions like, "Who has the power in your life?" "Where in your life do you have choice and influence, and where do you not?" From this perspective, I can help you identify which things in your life you have the power to change, and which ones you don't. This might entail helping you develop the skills to cope with situations you cannot change, as well as developing the skill and confidence to take charge of your life where you can.