five things to consider when looking for a new counsellor

You’ve decided that talking to your friends isn’t giving you the help you need, and you want to find a counsellor to help you reach your goals for a healthier you.  But where do you start?!  Here are five things to consider as you start your search for a counsellor.

1.  Identify the area you’re wanting to work on.  While most counsellors can help you learn ways to cope with anxiety or depression, not everyone is trained to help your child deal with their anxiety, or help you find ways to cope with OCD.  If you have survived a traumatic experience, you also want to know that your therapist has training and experience in this area.  Knowing what you need help with helps you narrow down your search.

2.  Look for a qualified therapist.  In BC, there is no regulation on counsellors.  This means that anyone can be a counsellor without any formal training.  So consider the training that you are looking for. The counsellor designations below have all received a Masters level of training.  They also have to meet high requirements in order to get these letters behind their name.  That means they’re required to have a certain amount of hours in the counselling room before they see you.  They have also either passed a rigorous exam or written a thesis to prove they have the solid training and understanding of emotional and mental health before they even hang a shingle.  We are proud to say that everyone that works out of Vitality Collective has at least one of these designations. *The word “therapist” and “counsellor” are used interchangeably.

 RCC – Registered Clinical Counsellor.  These therapists have received their Masters of Arts in Counselling Psychology or a similar degree title. They are associated with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors and will most likely be covered by your health care benefits.

CCC – Canadian Certified Counsellor.  These therapists have also received their Masters of Arts in Counselling Psychology or equivalent.  They are registered with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.  This Association is Canada wide, and requires therapists to complete a certain number of continuing education credits every 3 years to ensure they are providing you with excellent care.

RSW – Registered Social Worker.  These therapists have received their Masters in Social Work and are governed by the BC College of Social Workers. Many extended health plans also cover social workers.

R.Psych – Psychologist.  These therapists have received their Doctorate in Psychology and are governed by the College of Psychologists of BC.  Some of your health care benefits will say they only cover psychologists. 

3.  Talk to your friends or colleagues.  Word of mouth is quite often a great way of finding a therapist.  Ask your friend about their counsellor, but ask questions beyond whether it worked or not.  This could be a whole other blog post!  Ask questions like:  What did/didn’t you like about them?  Do they make you do homework?  Are they inclusive in the way that they talk? What is their office like?  How long did you see them?  Did you reach your goals for counselling?  If spirituality is important to you, you might ask if the counsellor uses meditation or has a spiritual aspect to their work?

4.  Do your research!  Google is a great tool, but it can send you down a rabbit hole if you aren’t careful.  Some great sites to check out are bc-counsellors.org, CCPA, Psychology Today, or counsellingbc.com.  These sites have all of the types of therapists noted above.  However, some of those sites may also list therapists without the above mentioned credentials. You can search according to the issue that you are wanting help with, and the area that you live in.  You will get a list of therapists that are available to serve you.

Our website also provides some good basic information on each of the therapists that work out of our office.

5.  Keep doing your research!  Looking at a profile on one of these sites is a good first glimpse at therapists that match your search criteria.  But it’s just a snapshot.  Take another step and look at their website.  Are they speaking to you?  Do they actually talk about the issues that you are facing so that you know they can help you? Do you like how they speak in their website?  Quite often that’s how they talk in session too.  Is it easy to book with them, contact them and then find them? 

Have you decided to get started with counselling?  If you have already decided which therapist you’d like to work with at Vitality Collective, you can use the button below to start connecting with them.  If you still aren’t sure and would like more information on a specific counsellor, or would like us to match you with the counsellor that one of our Clinic Directors feel would be the best fit, you can also use this button and we will do our best to help you.