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To ask counsellors/psychotherapists on MN on how to proceed

(26 Posts)
AnyUsernameWillDo75 Tue 06-Feb-18 16:39:05

My DD (15) has asked to see a counsellor because she's getting very anxious in social situations and at school during exams/lessons. I've looked for counsellors in the area (we're going private, not through NHS) and there are two that seem to have experience working with teens.
My question is:
Is it ok to book preliminary consultations with both so my DD can see who she feels comfortable with and continue treatment? Is that how it's done or does she have to decide whether she wants to continue with them there and then, during the preliminary consultation? Can we say "thank you and we'll get in touch to book more sessions" so DD has time to come home and decide which one she feels comfortable with?
If you're a practising counsellor, could you please tell me what's the best way to go forward/how it's done? Thanks!

papayasareyum Tue 06-Feb-18 16:45:18

I’d advise you to always look for a bacp registered counsellor with proper qualifications. Anyone can set themselves up as a “therapist” but if they’ve not had full training they could do more harm than good. CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) could be helpful, but not all therapists are trained in this. It’s useul to find someone that comes recommended. Can your gp recommend someone? Do you have a local Facebook page for your town/city you can ask for recommendations on? I think the number one thing is qualifications. Make sure they’re fully trained, have experience of working with children and bacp registered

papayasareyum Tue 06-Feb-18 16:46:54

And yes, most therapists over an initial assessment session where they will give you the opportunity to go away and decide if you want to work with them or not

papayasareyum Tue 06-Feb-18 16:47:02

offer not over

Shednik Tue 06-Feb-18 17:08:50

I wouldn't book first appointments with both. The first session can be quite demanding and will involve giving a history...doing it twice would be draining and unproductive. There's also the issue of your dd feeling confused by two potentially different approaches.

It would be a bit like going to two different GP's for the same complaint. One might say "take these antibiotics" another might say "a course of steroids" and dd would be confused about which is "right" when they might be two valid but different approaches. That's a crude example!

You can certainly take time to think about whether dd wants to continue after the first session. And stop at any point she chooses.

Oblomov18 Tue 06-Feb-18 17:13:46

I disagree. Or rather talk to your dd and see what she thinks, first.
If she feels up to it, Do both, then she can make a decision.

And say exactly on this thread to both counsellors, you want dd to come to see 2, to see who she feels most comfortable with. That's totally ok and a counsellor shouldn't take umbrage.

AnyUsernameWillDo75 Tue 06-Feb-18 17:33:13

Yes, I've checked and they're both registered with bacp. Their websites have reviews from patients and they seem to have experience working with adolescents.

DD says she's ok meeting with both before making a decision. Based on what was said here, should I make sure that there is at least a weak between the two appointments? Give her time to process one before she has the second one?

AnyUsernameWillDo75 Tue 06-Feb-18 17:33:41

*A week not a weak haha

Yawnyprawn Tue 06-Feb-18 17:54:14

Trainee counsellor here. Totally fine to try two out if that's what your daughter wants to do. It's worth finding someone you really feel comfortable with, especially as it's such an investment of time and money. Good on you for helping her to sort this out!

Exiguous Tue 06-Feb-18 18:03:52

I would say try out two even if it is draining. She might find the first one is just what she needs, in which case it's fine to cancel the initial appointment with the other one.

My DD has seen two counsellors - found the first one useless, found the second one really helpful.

The main thing is that you are helping her find the support she needs. Try to arrange her appointments so she can have some time to herself afterwards to do whatever she needs (I found sitting quietly somewhere rather than going straight to work was helpful).

rachaelclaire1 Tue 06-Feb-18 18:04:15

Most schools now have counsellors but failing that look on BACP for counsellors in your area.

It is perfectly fine to have appointments with two or more counsellors and the first is nearly always free , as in the first session it is really an explanation of rules/ regs and how the counsellor will work with your daughter and allow her to ask any questions she needs to ask. Usually you can tell immediately if the counsellor is right for you.

CBT in your daughter’s situation would be ideal and they would certainly be able to give her some coping mechanisms.

Good luck

AnyUsernameWillDo75 Tue 06-Feb-18 19:06:51

I'm glad to hear it would be ok to see two so DD can choose a counsellor in her own time. She (DD) tends to get very anxious/shy so I know she won't want to make a decision there and then.

kitkatsky Tue 06-Feb-18 19:25:49

As an adult when I was looking for a therapist I looked online, close the ones whose profiles spoke to me most and emailed them, then chose based on their responses. If they can write well they can speak well. I’d ask her to do this and then choose together

AnyUsernameWillDo75 Wed 07-Feb-18 08:33:55

It just dawned on me to ask but

Anyone can set themselves up as a “therapist”
Is this not illegal? Can someone just claim they're a therapist? Surely there is a board/committee that makes sure only people with proper qualifications can work as a therapist.

hitty Wed 07-Feb-18 11:16:42

If you want effective help for anxiety, don't see a counsellor. Pay a bit more and see a psychologist or CBT therapist who can provide actual evidence-based treatment for anxiety.

drspouse Wed 07-Feb-18 11:18:53

Some job titles are protected and some are not. I think "therapist" isn't.

drspouse Wed 07-Feb-18 11:20:57

Here's the list for HCPs
www.hcpc-uk.co.uk/aboutregistration/protectedtitles/

manateeandcake Wed 07-Feb-18 11:31:11

Psychotherapy is not regulated by the state so anyone can call themselves a therapist and charge for their services. That's why it's so important to find someone who's registered with one of the respected accrediting bodies: BACP, UKCP or BPC.

I would be inclined to agree with Shednik and recommend booking one initial consultation, taking as long as your DD needs to decide whether she wants to continue with that person, and if not only then booking a second one. Initial consultations do tend to stir up a lot. But as you seem keen on booking two, I would definitely agree with leaving plenty of time between them and not going to the second one if your daughter decides that she feels comfortable enough with the first therapist to continue further. No one would or should expect her to make a decision on the spot.

In my experience, the initial consultation is not usually free, although some therapists may not charge if it's clearly not a good fit. And it can be a lot more than an explanation of "rules" and how things work. It is a chance for therapist and client to get a feel for each other and make a decision about what might be possible.

AnyUsernameWillDo75 Wed 07-Feb-18 11:48:24

Ok, one of them says counsellor, mbacp accredited.
The other one says psychotherapist, registered with ACP, and BPC and member of bacp

So none of them are actually psychologists, based on what I've read here. Now I'm worried they might make things worse for DD if they don't know what they're doing. How can I tell?

drspouse Wed 07-Feb-18 11:55:16

I don't think you can be any better qualified as a psychotherapist than BACP?
But counsellors/psychotherapists are not quite the same as psychologists.

AnyUsernameWillDo75 Wed 07-Feb-18 11:58:29

Is it a difference between techniques/knowledge? Or do psychologists offer longer treatments, more in depth etc?
Sorry for all the questions.

Picklesandsausages Wed 07-Feb-18 12:02:08

For anxiety I'd go for a psychologist with cbt qualification. A psychologist will offer a wider assessment and consider cbt as well as other therapeutic options. Although cbt is the most effective treatment for anxiety.

You could ask GP for recommendations or look at BPS website for psychologists who work in your area.

I also agree that seeing two might be draining for her so having some time between them will be helpful.

Good luck

BeatrizViter Wed 07-Feb-18 12:46:28

Not all psychologists specialise in therapy though any psychologist advertising for private therapeutic work will be qualified to do so. They mainly deal with diagnosis and later tend to gain therapeutic experience. Counsellors and psychotherapists have primarily trained in offering therapy. I echo you must find one who is registered with the BACP BPS or UKCP and I would look for one who specialises in adolescents as it can be very different to working with adults and not everyone has the skills. Definitely let your daughter see more than one if shes up for it, the preliminary session should be about working out if the fit is right for both. Whilst all the different types of therapy can seems overwhelming the research about effectiveness consistently shows over and over again it is the quality of the therapist client relationship that makes the difference so finding someone your daughter can get on with is crucial.

Robin233 Wed 07-Feb-18 13:01:34

Everyone is different but i have tried all sorts of different therapies. Each had their merits
But the only thing that helped my anxiety was CBT.
Maybe start with that and see how you go. Good luck x

selfishcrab Wed 07-Feb-18 13:09:31

Most schools will have counsellors as a previous OP stated BUT they are normally still inn training and are ok but don't have much experience.
Ask these 2 if they offer a quick introduction over the phone/face-to-face, it doesn't hve to be gruelling or intense, it doesn't have to be about what you DD is going through/thinks IT IS about how she feels about the therapist. She may feel comfortable/like one and not the other, she may not think she can work with either of them.
Sometimes its just the look,voice, way of the therapist that sparks the feeling of trust and that is the key.
She will choose and keep looking if she doesn't think she can work with them because it is all about the relationship she can build with that person and trust.

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