Are you considering seeking help for your mental health or other life issues? There’s no shame in asking for help. It can take serious courage and determination to admit that you need some support. You might see a counselor for various reasons, including managing stress, anxiety, depression, alcohol or drug use, overeating or other problems. However, you must ensure you pick the proper professional to assist you. Some people advertise their counseling services without adequate training, qualifications or licensing. This helpful article will share the seven questions you should ask before choosing a counselor. Read on to learn what they are.
Are They Licensed?
You want to ensure that you choose a licensed counselor to support you with your mental health. Some people advertise their services as a life coach or supportive role without accreditation. This will vary depending on where you are in the world. For instance, some countries will have licensing systems set up for mental health professionals. A legitimate counselor should be able to provide evidence of their license and registration, should you choose to engage with their services.
Are they Qualified? And to What Level?
The next question to ask is about their qualifications. You want to ensure they have an appropriate qualification, such as a diploma, bachelor’s, or master’s in counseling or therapy. There are different levels of qualifications for counselors, which all take between two to four years, sometimes more. A qualified counselor can provide their certificate or degree for you, or it may be hanging up in their rooms.
Another question to ask about this is if they’ve specialized in a particular area of counseling. For instance, you may want a specialist alcohol and drug counselor if you want support for substance abuse or a different specialization for an eating disorder or overspending.
How Often Will I See You?
The next question to ask is how often they will see you. Some counselors are incredibly busy and might only be able to offer a monthly appointment or fortnightly at best. This might not suit your needs, particularly if you’re experiencing serious issues and need support. You may prefer a weekly session, wherein you need to gauge if the professional can offer that. Ask this during the intake process to ensure it fits your unique circumstances well.
Are They Neuro-Inclusive?
This is a great question to ask if you are neurodiverse – if you have autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or Tourette’s. Not all mental health professionals are inclusive or accepting of neurodiversity, unfortunately. Some even practice harmful practices such as Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA. Ask the counselor if they are neuro-inclusive or use neuro-affirming practices.
Can You Work With My Goals?
A counselor is only as good as the extent to which they can support you with your goals for therapy. You might have a particular goal you’d like to work towards, such as weight loss, smoking cessation, or reducing your drinking. If the counselor isn’t willing to work with you on what you want to achieve, you should look for a professional who can.
How Long is Each Session?
You’ll want to ask this question next. Typically, a counseling session will last for 50 minutes, allowing 10 minutes for the counselor to make notes afterward. However, some counselors may offer shorter or longer sessions. You’ll know how much time you can commit to amidst your busy schedule, so it’s worth finding out how long a session is. This will also have flow-on effects, such as the rest of your plans for the day, so you want a duration that works for you.
How Much is a Session? Can my Health Insurance Pay?
Counselors, like the rest of us, don’t work for free. Like all of us, they have bills and rent or mortgages to pay. They can advise on the cost of the session and any government rebates that might be available, depending on where you live.
Also, your private health insurance could cover some of the therapy costs if you have mental health support in your policy. It’s worth checking before dismissing counselling as too expensive for you. There may be no cost if you’ve got good coverage due to your job or other connections. Also, some workplaces have Employee Assistance Programs that offer gratis counseling to staff, which is worth investigating.
A Counseling Conclusion
This helpful article has shared the six top questions to ask prospective counselors before you choose one. Good luck in your quest to improve your mental health and well-being.