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How do you find a good counsellor/therapist?

(16 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

apersonthatisme Mon 21-Oct-19 15:08:29

I think I need to see a counsellor or therapist. I have weird procrastination and avoidance issues, I know it's all irrational but knowing that doesn't stop me.

I had a few therapy sessions a couple of years ago, with a 'person centred' therapist. She was very nice, but even though I was being totally honest with her I just felt like I was making excuses for my behaviour and she was sympathising - it wasn't helpful.

I now live in a new place and I can see there are lots of counsellors around to choose from but I don't know what accreditations etc to look out for. Any advice on what qualifications are worthwhile would be appreciated.

Also, my budget seems to limit me to a junior therapist but I don't want it to feel like I'm just chatting to a stranger/friend, I'd rather pay more for someone experienced who might really help - would going to a really good therapist 1x a fortnight or 1x a month be better than seeing someone less experienced weekly?


LouMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 22-Oct-19 22:37:12

Hi there @apersonthatisme - we're just popping on here to say we've moved your thread over to the Mental Health topic and hopeful you'll get some useful advice and support here.

Best of luck with it all.


Sally2791 Tue 22-Oct-19 22:40:12

If you can get word of mouth recommendations try that, just don’t be afraid to keep trying until you find the right person because I strongly believe that the relationship between you is more important than the official type of counselling that they offer

Ibizafun Tue 22-Oct-19 23:58:34

Absolutely recommendation if possible.

Omar1986 Wed 23-Oct-19 00:09:56

Honestly go to your local GP and they will refer you to the best person available. It worked for me a treat!

MissOrganisedMe Wed 23-Oct-19 08:24:37

I'm interested in this too! Following for advice.

WalnutBerry Wed 23-Oct-19 09:18:37

I was told (by my massage therapist who is about to start training as a therapist) to look for a BACP registered therapist. Have a look at

Re. approaches it really depends what you want from it. E.g. more person centred / humanistic style, more CBT style (focused more on goals, changing thoughts and behaviours). The best thing is to contact a few and ask for an initial call to see if there's a good fit. Most will speak to you some cases for 30 mins to explain how they work, answer any questions or concerns, and find out if they are right for you.

The feel of the person matters so much - you just know when you find someone you can work with, and you need to go with your gut.

The other option is just to google Counselling and your area. There may be some counselling organisations with therapists profiles. Also google low cost counselling. Some places offer concessions, don't be afraid to ask.

Where are you based? provide low cost counselling with trainees.

If not private then go through the GP (waiting times vary) for a referral. You should in theory find a good and helpful counsellor, although I did have one who wasn't a good fit for me. The other thing is don't be afraid to say if the approach isn't working for you. I wish I had with that therapist ( she was giving me way too much homework!). Another time I told a therapist I felt she was very detached. It felt like I was an object of interesting academic study. i actually ended the therapy a couple of weeks after. Doing that in itself was quite powerful (although did leave me without a counsellor and I didn't find another for a while). Do keep going with it. It is so worthwhile when it works.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 23-Oct-19 09:27:54

Yes to BACP and also Counselling Directory where you put your postcode in and it finds you therapists near you - that site also has extensive pages on it for professionals to put a lot of information about them and their practice.

You will find that many do introductory sessions at a lower cost.

I'm a therapist and I offer weekly/fortnightly/3 weekly/monthly appointments- a lot of therapists are flexible now as family and work commitments are much greater for clients. The traditional idea of therapy at the same time every week is less usual (though obviously still a thing)

WalnutBerry Wed 23-Oct-19 09:40:50

Also, most therapists won't work with you less than weekly, unless it was more of a life coach.

I have had good counselling from someone with fewer qualifications. For me, I'd look for some kind of basis in counselling, minimum Diploma in Counselling Skills etc., evidence of further professional training and courses, evidence of some further specialisms (e.g. CBT etc.). The more the better really.

There is also Skype counselling widely available, many offer this now, which really is quite effective I have found - minimises the stress of travel - and would widen the pool of options for you.

Learning to be compassionate and kind to yourself is part of the process. Having some goals, I'd say no more than three, also helps it along.

WalnutBerry Wed 23-Oct-19 09:42:02

@lauriefairycake that's really good to hear that therapists are flexible nowadays!

totallyradllama Wed 23-Oct-19 09:46:16

It is not true that most therapists won't work with you less than weekly

It very depends on the type of therapy and what stage you're at with it

When you are contacting them just explain you are looking for an active form of time-limited therapy (if that's what you want) and see what they say

WalnutBerry Wed 23-Oct-19 09:52:27

You might also want to look at what they have experience working with. I have recently diagnosed ADHD (loads of procrastination and avoidance issues there) so for me its important a therapist understands this is a neurodevelopmental condition and ultimately what I need are strategies.

MrsMaiselsMuff Wed 23-Oct-19 09:53:38

Honestly go to your local GP and they will refer you to the best person available.

No, they won't. They'll tell you to contact the iAPT service, where you'll be assessed over the phone and either go onto a waiting list for a limited number of appointments of CBT, or you'll be sent to a group, or you'll be given an online therapy referral (therapy by computer). That might well be enough for some people, but for most it's pretty useless.

All good advice from others OP, ask for recommendations and have an initial chat with the therapist for an idea of how they work. Don't be afraid to say if a therapeutic relationship is not working for you, they'll won't be offended.

WalnutBerry Wed 23-Oct-19 09:54:08

@totallyradllama I stand corrected.

Limensoda Thu 24-Oct-19 10:03:58

I was appointed a counsellor and was lucky that she was brilliant. I wouldn't have had any idea how to choose one but I believe you can stop and change your counsellor if you think you don't connect with them.

Limensoda Thu 24-Oct-19 10:05:33

Oh,...and a good counsellor will have a chat with you first about your problems and let you know if they feel they can help. There's usually no charge for that.

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