Firstly, it is important to find a counsellor that is in your area, or that you have easy access to. This is simply to make travelling easier. As you will most likely be attending counselling on a regular schedule, it is helpful to have a counsellor that you can easily travel to. Travel difficulties are one of the reasons that clients may drop out of counselling, or cannot keep to their appointments. Use the FRCA website to find yourself a counsellor in your area. Rest assured that if any need for a referral arises in counselling, your FRCA counsellor has access to a large database to refer you to further care also in your area.
Remember that not every counsellor is a perfect “fit”. Counsellors, although very trained in providing unbiased and compassionate care for you, do have their own personalities and mannerisms. It is important to acknowledge that if you don’t feel 100% comfortable with a counsellor, you have every right to find another one. It is also crucial that there are no language barriers. If you feel more comfortable talking in your home language, find a counsellor that is able to do this with you, as expressing yourself fully is the biggest part of counselling.
Never be afraid to ask a counsellor about their qualifications, experience, registrations and CPD point compliance. Your different needs will suit different types of counselling. Some counsellors are more experienced in working with children, others may be registered as pastoral counsellors, and some may have thorough training and knowledge in sexual problems or family dynamics. Tell the counsellor openly about what struggles you are having and ask how it is they will be able to help you. This is your counselling journey, your money and time that you are investing.
Be sure that you know what your finances look like, when starting counselling. Ask the counsellor their prices, if they have a payment plan (if you need one), if you need to pay them directly or can you submit directly to medical aid. Counsellors do have bills to pay, and trust you as the client to pay for their services. If at any stage you have financial trouble, speak to your counsellor openly about it. They may be able to help you, or put you in contact with a range of free mental health services. Your counsellor must not just be a personality fit for you, but a financial fit as well.
– Written by Zoe Wilson
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