Feeling comfortable and confident with a therapist is important. If you feel you can’t really talk to your counsellor, that they don’t really listen to you, or that you are experiencing no change or improvement, then it is worth talking to them about this. If you are still not satisfied try someone else. It is important to remember that counselling is not something that is done to or for you. Change can only occur with hard work from you.
When you first go to a practitioner it is worth asking them questions about how they can help you. Think about what you want to get out of your therapy. Some helpful questions could be:
Are you a member of a professional association?
If the practitioner is a full member of their professional association, this should mean that their qualifications and experience meet certain standards. For this reason, it is better to obtain a referral to a counsellor or psychologist through their professional body than to choose one from the White Pages. Such membership also means that the practitioner abides by a Code of Conduct so you can make a complaint to the professional body about their conduct should you need to.
Do you receive regular clinical supervision?
Professional codes of ethics often dictate that counsellors and psychotherapists receive supervision to monitor and assist them in their work with clients.
What days and times are you available?
Unless sessions are reasonably easy to fit into your life it can be too easy to give up.
How much do you charge?
Private Counsellors can be expensive. Some low-cost counselling services exist but may have long waiting lists. Medicare rebates are available for psychologists and mental health accredited social workers in certain circumstances.
How can you assure me that what I say will be kept confidential?
Most practitioners maintain case notes that must be stored in a secure place. Nobody other than your counsellor should read your case notes although they may discuss your case anonymously with their clinical supervisor. Unless you tell the practitioner that you intend to harm yourself or another person or have abused a child under the age of 18, what you say to the practitioner should not go any further.