How can I tell if you're any good?
Individual and Couples Counseling | Columbia, Mo
We seriously love this question for its frankness and honesty. Who wouldn't want to know whether their future counselor was any good at counseling? And while we're pretty biased and think we have an awesome team, we understand the desire to know what you're getting into when you start with individual counseling or couples counseling.
Plus, if you're one of those people who have had bad experiences with a counselor in the past (which absolutely happens), you might be even more shy to get going with someone else.
The good news is that there are ways for you to be able to tell if you're working with a good counselor. Huzzah!
The bad news is that they're also very dependent on you. Not huzzah!
Here's what we mean. If you can be open, honest, communicative, and feel safe with your counselor, then it's probably a good fit. On the flip side, if you're coming in because you're struggling with confidence and boundaries or PTSD or high levels of anxiety or issues with vulnerability, then you might struggle with those feelings regardless of the person you're working with. And that could fog the filter for whether or not you and your counselor are a good fit (although here's how else you can tell if you're counselor is good). You get what we mean?
If you can leave feeling unburdened, relieved, affirmed, and validated, then it's probably a good fit. The caveat, however, is that there are some sessions that just don't feel very good. This is normal when we come up against really hard material, or you're struggling with something you haven't dealt with successfully before, or you're working through past traumas, or you're angry because your counselor was honest with some feedback and it was something that you didn't want to unearth.
My general recommendation to people is to give it three sessions. At that point, if you're not liking some aspect of your counseling relationship, then you can:
- bring it up and say you're unhappy with it (your counseling should respond by accommodating what you're bringing up)
- ask for a referral because the counseling relationship isn't working, or
- ghost your counselor, don't schedule, and find somebody new (while this happens, we generally recommend one of the first two options) :)