Choosing A Counsellor That’s Right For You

  • Common ways to find a counsellor include word of mouth from someone you trust, or a referral from a professional organization such as the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors or the Canadian Counselling Association, your doctor or community mental health agency.
  • Look for a counsellor who is registered with a professional organization. This ensures that the practitioner has met specific standards for education, supervision and clinical competence. Membership also requires counsellors to abide by a Code of Ethics, and provides a process by which the public can make complaints.
  • The counsellor’s fees and policies should be clearly explained, including confidentiality and its limits. This includes record keeping procedures as per the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.
  • What is the counsellor’s work space like? Does it appear tidy, well-organized and welcoming?
  • A counsellor should be prepared to explain his or her methods and expected outcomes to your satisfaction, and to be open to your input about your experience of the counselling process.
  • A therapeutic relationship is different than a social relationship. It can be warm and friendly, but with the specific focus on you and your healing process. Therapy can look different depending on the style and background of the therapist, but generally if you are working with a therapist you are not seeing them socially or for reasons other than therapy. This is to avoid the blurred boundaries that can happen with dual relationships. Your therapist should have that distinct role in your life. It is rarely appropriate to have an out-of-office relationship with your counsellor, and it is never appropriate to have a sexual or romantic relationship with them.
  • It is important that you feel comfortable and safe with the person that you choose. Each counsellor will have his or her own style, approach and personality. If you find that you do not make a good match for whatever reason, it is your right to look for another counsellor.
  • The role of the counsellor is to provide caring and skillful support as you work on your goals. He or she is there to encourage your optimum growth and development, with a clear focus on your well-being.