Therapy is a journey; like most journeys, doing a little planning is essential. From my years of experience, I have started a quick(ish) guide on how to find a counsellor; I hope to share some insights into discovering the person that is the best fit for you. Online therapy can be quick to access, and some great places have multiple counsellors. I have worked with BetterHelp and used the service; I liked the style. It's modern and progressive. There are smaller organisations such as Feelya as well; the benefits of these sites are that the counsellors have been vetted and have met some basic requirements as well as having the counsellor reviewed by the clients that use them, which does not tend to happen on Google as often.
It can be beneficial to ensure you are looking in the right places; having confidence that you have someone registered or accredited by the psychotherapy body feels essential. These bodies might be the BACP, UKCP NCPS, or a reputable organisation like Relate or Cruse.
Using someone from a professional body is a great way to ensure that someone has met minimum training requirements and that the counsellor has agreed to an ethical framework
Check out the services you can access; for example, does your employer have an employee assistance programme (EAP)? Does your private medical insurance cover therapy? You can find this information through your manager or human resources department; if you have an intranet, the details are sometimes available here, too.
Other resources may also be available from your trade union if you are part of one, as well as the National Health Service (NHS). You can access this in England through the NHS website or your doctor. Don't be put off by waiting times; the best time to plant a tree is in the past, but a few months is also not bad!
Therapy can be an intimate journey where you should feel safe and secure; check out a couple of therapists to find who you click with. I will write more about what to expect from a first session. Remember, you would probably try a few outfits before deciding what to wear; therapists are like clothes that don't fit everyone, so try a couple!
It can be important to consider what you find important in working with a counsellor. For example, do they work times that fit with your schedule, do they speak the language you speak, and do they have experience in your world? And super simple do you like them?
One of the most searched terms is 'How do I access counselling now?' It is essential to consider if you are ready for therapy; sometimes, you may need urgent support. For example, if you are feeling suicidal, access an organisation like Samaritans and your doctor. Therapy does have a space for psychological first aid, but make sure if you are feeling unsafe, you access the resources you have available; when we are in these challenging places, we can forget the resources we have, such as our friends, family, managers, HR teams, colleagues and local groups.
If you are supporting someone in one of these challenging places, organisations such as Samaritans are also available to call for you. You are also welcome to contact me to discuss options. However, I am not an emergency service, and 112 or 999 might be an appropriate call if you are concerned about imminent danger.
The picture to the left is linked to the Samritan's home page you are also able to call: 116 123
Therapy can be beneficial in person if needed; it can also be quicker to access someone online by video link. If you are not keen on face-to-face, you might want to phone or use a text service. Instead, you can search for a counsellor near you or a service that specialises in an area of interest to you. I have linked the counselling directory below.
Insurance and training will be documented; if you are looking for a client under 18, also check that the counsellor has experience in this area; a counsellor of good quality will not be offended by these questions.
For things like couples counselling, substance misuse and addiction, most counsellors, if they are not qualified in these areas,o a counsellor they are aware of and have experience will sign you t in this area.