It can be very hard for anyone to choose a counsellor or therapist. It can be especially challenging if you were abused or traumatised as a child.
You may wish to call Blue Knot Helpline on 1300 657 380 to speak to one of our counsellors. The counsellor can explore your needs and access Blue Knot’s referral database to identify therapists and agencies in your area, who are experienced in working with adult survivors.
Once you have their contact details feel free to ask them about their experience, ways of working and qualifications. It is important that they are sensitive to your needs. That they validate your experience and are respectful of your boundaries. You should also feel as safe as you can in their space.
Once you are in a therapeutic relationship with them, if you feel you are being pushed too hard, or you are uncomfortable with their methods, try to discuss your concerns with them. If their suggestions don’t fit with your feelings or beliefs, try to discuss that as well. You should be comfortable with the pace of your therapy. You should also feel empowered to discuss your progress openly. If you are not comfortable after discussing your concerns consider choosing a different therapist.
Choosing a therapist can be challenging, confusing and time-consuming. It is a good idea to ‘shop around’ before you choose.
The following advice might help you:
· Ask other survivors.
· Speak to a counsellor on Blue Knot Helpline on 1300 657 380, 9-5 Mon-Sun AEST.
· Prepare a list of questions eg. What is his/her experience in working with survivors?
· What approach(es) does he/she use?
· How much will it cost? Is there a concessional rate? What are payment options?
· How available is he/she?
· What happens in a session? How long are they?
· What happens if I need to cancel a session?
· Can I make contact between sessions? What happens when you take holidays?
· What happens when we finish therapy? Could I come back again? Will I be part of the decision-making process?
· Beware of therapists who stress a particular approach or technique, or who are dogmatic about issues such as forgiveness, confrontation, etc.
· Beware of therapists who give hugs, shake hands too readily, or sit too close without invitation. If you do feel uncomfortable when interviewing a therapist, trust your instincts.
· Beware if your therapist seems overly interested in your sexual history and questions you in detail, especially when the questioning appears irrelevant.
· Beware if your therapist avoids sensitive issues and talks in generalities. Is your therapist able to handle the feelings and content that you bring to therapy?
Ask yourself the following:
· Do I feel intimidated by this therapist?
· Does he/she listen to me?
· Do I believe that I can disagree with him/her?
The therapist you choose should be a good listener. They should be empathetic and non-judgmental. Your therapist needs to be a trusted partner in your process.