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How to Pick the Best Counselor for You-from Marengo, Cary and Dundee

Jul 10, 2008
Your selection of a counselor or therapist to help you eliminate anxiety, depression or prevent the loss of a relationship is a very intimate decision. You need to find a professional who makes you feel comfortable personally and in whose skill and competence you feel confident.

Whether you have already met with a counselor or psychologist or are just beginning to look for one, you need to be satisfied by what you discover in these three essential areas: education, experience, and communication.

Educational Credentials Needed by Your Psychologist or Counselor

The educational background of a counselor or therapist should be made easily available to you both at the counselors office and at his or her website, if one exists. Many psychologists and counselors do not put their diplomas on the wall because of vanity issues.

However, it is important for counselors to openly disclose their educational credentials. You should ask your potential psychologist, counselor or psychiatrist about his or her college, graduate or professional school and internship or residency training.

When considering a mental health professional, feel free to verify his or her educational background. This can be done fairly easily by doing an internet search for your states psychologist, physician or counseling licensing board.

You would be able to verify that your potential mental health professional has an active professional license, and often the graduate or professional school where he or she graduated will be listed as well, as it is in Illinois.

The Experience of a Psychologist, Counselor or Psychiatrist

Even if a mental health or counseling professional has excellent educational credentials, it does not mean that he or she is necessarily the right professional for you. Specialties and expertise may vary.

For example, one psychologist or counselor might focus on and be very accomplished in marriage counseling. But if you are looking for one to treat a serious case of depression, then this would not be a good match.

It is important that you ask your potential mental health counselor or psychologist what types of problems he or she treats most often. He or she should be up front about areas of expertise and willing to refer you to someone else if what you need would be better done by another.

Communication with a Counseling Professional

Speaking with your potential therapist or counselor during an initial consultation is when you will get the first taste of his or her interpersonal skills. You should feel that this individual is attentive and responsive to your deeply personal concerns and that you have a special comfort level or rapport with him or her.

The counselor should also answer all your questions with candor and explain the details of his or her type of therapy, including its costs and the frequency and duration of sessions. Additionally, a counseling professional should also query you about your reasons for seeking therapy.

You should not be allowed to jump into counseling without thinking through your motivations or goals. Are they realistic? Are they attainable and appropriate?

A well-informed decision on your part is in the best interests of you and the counselor or psychologist.
Sometimes it takes several visits to different therapists, before you can decide which therapist is the right one for you.

As you search for a counseling professional, be sure to carefully weigh all your concerns, the quality of the rapport and the skill-sets offered by the therapists with whom you meet.
About the Author
Dr Shery is in Cary, IL, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Marengo and Lake-in-the-Hills. He's an expert psychologist. Call 1 847 516 0899 and make an appt orlearn more about counseling at: http://www.carypsychology.com
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