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  • Writer's pictureJan Gilroy

How do I find the right Counsellor for me?

Updated: Sep 18, 2018

What an easy question to answer. It's Jan! You found me, good for you; now let's book a session. All kidding aside, there is likely a reason that you got to my website, and are reading my blog. Something is clicking for you, there is something about my ideas, my words or my face that is drawing you in. You get to trust this intuition.

Perhaps, you have stumbled across this blog in another way, or perhaps you want to rely on more than intuition. We can also use other parts of self, such as logic, to help us make a decision about a therapist to see. I have provided you with things to think about.

1) Does my insurance cover their qualification?

If you are fortunate, you have insurance that will cover some or all of your mental health needs. This does not mean that they will cover everyone who claims that they have the skills to support you along your life journey. Ideally, you want to know what your insurance will cover; if they cover mental health it will be highly likely that they will cover Registered Psychologist (R.Psyc). Less likely to be covered, but still skilled and verified are those individuals that are Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW); a keyword here is “clinical”, as it requires extra training and supervision when compared to a Registered Social Worker (RSW). Finally, you will find skilled and verified individuals that are Canadian Certified Counsellors (CCC); you will want to ensure that your insurance covers this designation. When in doubt contact your insurance company to find out what they will cover.

If you don't have insurance or if cost is of no issue, you have a lot more freedom to decide whom you would like to see. I would personally recommend that you see someone that has one of the above destinations (R.Psyc, LCSW, or CCC) as this means that an objective board is overseeing their qualification and has decided that they have enough skills to be a therapist.

2) Do they specialize in what I need support with?

You might have a pretty good idea what you need from a therapist, which leaves you with a few options. On PsycToday (a popular website to find a therapist; you can search with keywords to help narrow your options. For example, ‘anxiety,’ ‘PTSD,’ or ‘depression,’ to name a few search options for what you may be dealing with. You can also search by population type (ex. adolescent, LGBTQ, adults, etc.). Or, if you are super eager and have done your research and honed your knowledge on what works best for you, you can search by therapeutic orientations (ex. CBT, Somatic, solution focused etc.).

If I have lost you a little bit, think for a moment about what you want help with, or what you would like to change in your life, and begin by searching that, plus psychologist plus your location into your chosen search engine. For example, “sexual violence + psychologist + Calgary” in Google could yield you some pretty filtered results.

3) Where are they located?

Hey, location is important! Just like everything else, the more convenient it is for you to get there, the more likely you will go. Be honest with yourself, it does not matter how awesome a person is, if you won't or can't go to your sessions, you won’t go. Consider your current mode of transportation and make sure that you can get there with relative ease. You may also want to consider accessibility; can you physically get into the building. Do you want to support businesses that allow for accessibility for all?

4) Has someone recommended them?

This is a lovely way to connect to a therapist; someone you already know and/or trust has vouched for this therapist. Less work for you! I would still recommend that you Google that person and check out what they offer: what are their qualifications, what are their areas of knowledge, and where they are located. Make the decision that is best for you.

5) Do they offer a short phone consultation?

This is a bonus. Some people want to have a quick consultation to see what the therapist offers. If you are on the fence about someone; call them. I promise that they want to hear from you. Sometimes a phone call can help you feel if you can talk to that therapist, and if they can assist you with what you’re seeking help with.

6) Do you think you will like them?

Ultimately you want to be comfortable and feel connected to the person that you choose as your therapist. You get to trust your instinct.

I hope that you find this helpful, and if you are interested, you can call me for a free 15-minute consultation at 587-887-4047.

Jan Gilroy


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