What makes a counsellor your counsellor?
I’ve been doing this work for coming up on a decade. I’ve also been committed to promoting the standards of this profession while recognizing the unique paths that bring people to a career in counselling.
Counselling is a rather unique profession in that the ability of a counsellor to do their job well depends largely on the person themselves and their ability to connect with others. We do not really care if our dentist or pharmacist is not very likeable because how much they can help is not dependent on how caring, warm and inviting they are.
If you have explored our counselling team you will see that though our counsellors come from a variety of regulated and licensed training, they have all been chosen to represent Limitless Wellness because of the depth of character they possess and their authentic commitment to helping people. How well read they are is only one part of what makes them a counsellor. What makes a counsellor able to take what they have learned and experienced and apply it to helping another human, is much harder to test and define.
The counsellor you choose can have an enormous impact on your healing and progress and this personal power held by our clients is one our profession celebrates and holds in the highest regard. Study after study have shown that the relationship you create with your counsellor is more important than the specific techniques or therapeutic approaches used.
Are you allowed to ask your counsellor questions? Yes, and you should always feel that your questions are welcome. Your counsellor should never be telling you their life story, because you are with us to talk about you. Your counsellor should however be willing and happy to answer the questions that can help you find the best help for you and make you feel safe in the process. Your counsellor may have spent a lifetime in the library, but if you do not feel they are capable of understanding you and your experience, then you should keep looking.
Below are the 3 most important questions to consider asking when looking to connect with a counsellor and start your healing journey:
1.What made you become a counsellor?
There are not many people who leave school and immediately embark on the journey of becoming a counsellor. I have met only one of those people in my life, and he is the exception to the rule. There is a reason for this and it is simply that when we are young the vast majority of us do not yet know much about ourselves, let alone how we can use understanding to help others. The pursuit of this career is one that usually grows on a person over time and after coming out the other side of some of life’s many hardships.
2. Do you also see a counsellor?
Counsellors are people too and they have their own personal work to do. That work is never done if we are to remain grounded and available to our clients. If a counsellor does not believe in the benefit of counselling for their own life then how can they be promoting it to others? We are all fallible, and the pursuit of living a happy life is a continuous path. Your counsellor needs to be able to put their own life on “the shelf” so to speak, so they can be fully present for you. Your counsellors ability to do that is fundamental.
3. How will I know if you are the right counsellor for me?
With a new client, I always say, “if for whatever reason you do not think I am helping you, that is ok. I will help you find a better fit.” As I have touched on, feeling safe and having a rapport with your therapist is essential. There are many reasons that this may not happen and your counsellor is doing you a disservice if they are trying to help you, while knowing there is a lack of connection. Connection builds safety and the safety to be yourself with your counsellor is the most essential building block of a therapeutic relationship.
I hope these questions are helpful suggestions, as you consider starting a therapeutic relationship.
Sarah Flynn RPC