How to Choose the Right Counsellor
I like to think that people are capable of becoming their most authentic self, that this is what we long for at our core. But it is no easy feat. Only through a consistent commitment to self-awareness and exploration, is change possible. It might seem scary at first, but transformation is liberating.
Once you've decided you'd like to get some help, the first step in this transformation is to ask for it. It's paramount that you find the right person to help you. The word "counsellor" is not regulated in BC; many people claim to be counsellors but do not have the appropriate qualifications to practice safely or ethically. Accredited counsellors will have at least a Master's degree and will be registered with a regulatory body provincially or federally.
The British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC) is the gold standard governing body for therapists in BC. Its members, designated as Registered Clinical Counsellors (RCC), must hold at least a Master’s level degree, have undergone rigorous training and supervision requirements, and commit to the highest ethical and professional standards of practice.
If you've been able to identify the things you'd like help with, it's a good idea to work with someone who specializes in that area. Most counsellors will have a list of specialties on the website. If you think someone might be the right fit for you, but not sure if they treat your challenges, it can't hurt to inquire a little further. Often times, the things we think we need help with are a symptom of something else.
After you've vetted your counsellors based on their qualifications and specialities, you'll want to have a quick chat over the phone or maybe meet in person for a coffee to decide if it's the right fit. There is often an intangible feeling of connection that occurs between a client and a therapist. Pay attention to it. Research shows, time and time again, that the relationship between a therapist and a client is the most significant catalyst to change. On the flip side, if you're not feeling anything or terribly uncomfortable, it may not be the right fit. And you should pay attention to that, too.
Taking some time to find the right counsellor can make all the difference to your goals. It's your time, after all.