Updated: Sep 17
Written by Stephanie Beck, CCC. Stephanie is a Vancouver-based relationship counsellor who provides in-person and online counselling services.
The decision to begin looking for a counsellor is both exciting and uneasy. It is okay, and normal, to be overwhelmed by the process of searching for the perfect fit. These tips will help reduce stress, providing you with a more enjoyable journey.
Look for a counsellor who is licensed and insured
Search for a counsellor who is qualified to properly help you and your partner. A relationship counsellor is extensively trained in the area of relationships and has knowledge of important techniques and skills that will help you and your partner succeed. They will support you as you both process any current or past trauma, identify your relationship needs and work with you to implement improvements needed both individually and as a couple.
Ask friends, family, colleagues for referrals
A search engine is a popular choice for many when looking for a counsellor. However, you may want to ask friends, family, or colleagues if you are comfortable doing so. This will give you an idea of how they practice by discussing their experience. Keep in mind that each person may have a unique, different opinion of their counsellor than your experience could be.
Compile a list of counsellors you are interested in from your engine searches and your personal referrals.
Check the counsellor's website and social media for information about their services
Continue to work on narrowing down your list of potential counsellors. Visit their websites and social media to understand their services, how they practice, their styles, and techniques. You can learn a lot from viewing social media.
Determining what methods counsellors use with their clients will help narrow down your list. For example, counsellors discussing Gottman Method on their social media and on their website might be a great fit. This approach has been effective in helping couples improve their relationships. It encourages and strengthens the connection, communication, and love between partners in a healthy, positive environment. It uses a positive approach, sharing fondness and admiration, and building love maps.¹
Contact the counsellor to ask questions about their services
It is common to have questions about counselling services and fees before making an appointment. The counsellor wants you to feel comfortable and informed about the process, so please don't hesitate to contact them.
Some common questions include:
• What are the counsellor's qualifications?
• What is the average length of counselling sessions?
• How often will I need to see the counsellor?
• What are the counsellor's fees?
• What counselling method is used?
Every individual, relationship, and situation is special, so the counsellor will tailor your counselling services to meet your specific needs. Remember, to ask any questions you may have, they will be happy to assist you in making an informed decision about whether their counselling services are right for you.
Schedule a consultation with the counsellor to see if they are a good fit
It's important to find someone you feel comfortable talking to. The counsellor should be someone you feel safe opening up to about the intimate details of your relationship. They should also be impartial and non-judgmental. They should have a good understanding of the different dynamics that can contribute to relationship problems.
Scheduling a consultation will give you comfort knowing you are a good fit, able to open up and speak freely with your counsellor. This will allow both partners to get the full, needed counselling experience.