For people who are thinking about seeing a counsellor, finding the 'right one' can seem puzzling. This is intended to help remove some of the mystery and tackle some myths about finding a counsellor or psychotherapist in your area.
a) Your GP
The NHS does provide access to mental health services including therapy/counselling, however your access to services may depend on the resources in the Trust or in your surgery. Types of therapy available do vary (as do waiting times) so ask the questions if your GP informs you that they will advise their talking therapies team that you would like to be seen. They might also have information about other service providers that you could access whether that be a voluntary organisation or a private therapist.
[Myth buster - You don't have to be referred by a GP to access therapy.]
b) Ask a trusted family member, friend or colleague
If you were looking for a builder, plumber or mechanic, asking family and friends to recommend someone is the first step for many. Trusting your counsellor will be critical so if you know that someone you know has seen a counsellor and benefited from the experience, this can be an excellent place to start your research for the right counsellor for you.
[Myth buster - If you don't feel comfortable to speak to one particular counsellor, you might benefit from finding another one and there is no obligation to carry on working with someone who you don't feel is right for you.]
c) Hit the internet
As we know, there is a lot of information on the internet and not all of it is helpful. To do a decent search for a Counsellor on the internet you could
Type 'Counsellors in [your area]' into your search engine. (eg Counsellors in Lancashire)
Type 'Find a therapist' into your search engine.
Either way, you will be able to access information about who the Counsellors are and how they work.
[Myth buster - All Counsellors do not work in the same way yet all counsellors should be able to explain to you how they work with their clients so that you can make an educated decision about who you speak with.]
d) The HR Officer in your organisation
It's true that not everyone feels comfortable talking to their employer if they are considering speaking to a counsellor. If you do feel comfortable enough, your HR Officer could be a useful signpost to therapy providers in your area.
e) Out and about
Private Practitioners (ie counsellors who work for themselves) are like any other one-man-business in that they are often doing their own marketing. Offering confidential services in, sometimes, discreet locations, means that doing this can be challenging. Some counsellors have websites, but not all. Some counsellors put out leaflets and flyers in places where they think they might be useful. Have a look in libraries, on noticeboards at work or in shops - well, anywhere really.