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What to Look For in A Counsellor or Therapist



counsellor bristol
counsellor bristol


Choosing a counsellor or psychological therapist can be tricky. There are so many clinicians offering therapy & counselling, the choice can feel overwhelming. Research shows that the relationship between the client & the therapist is the most important aspect of counselling & therapy, therefore it is important that you feel that the clinician you work with is the right fit for you. 


For this reason, most counsellors & therapists offer a free consultation or assessment session. Whilst building a relationship takes time (especially for those who have experienced trauma or relationship difficulties) here are some things to consider when starting out with a new counsellor or therapist. 


Ideally your counsellor or therapist should demonstrate that they:


1- Listen to You


counsellor bristol
counsellor bristol

First & foremost - you should have your counsellors undivided attention. Your counsellor should be 100% focused on you & not distracted by any other influences e.g. parcel deliveries, taking phone calls, filing papers etc. They should be sitting calmly, focused on you & your needs for the length of the session. Counsellors should demonstrate they are actively listening to you by way of their body language & by reflecting back & summarising what you have shared with them.  


2- Understand You

counsellor bristol
counsellor bristol

More so- you should feel heard & seen during your session. You counsellor should demonstrate an accurate understanding of your thoughts, feelings & experiences, & they should be able to gauge this from what you say & what you don’t say. They should help you to feel well-understood, even without you always having to say this through words, for example through reading your body language or your emotional responses.


3- Care About You


counsellor bristol
counsellor bristol

Furthermore, the counsellor should demonstrate that they care about your thoughts, feelings & experiences. Counsellors endeavour to offer a warm, accepting, compassionate & non-judgmental space to explore difficulties from. Ideally you should feel at ease when talking with them, experiencing a safe & secure space where you can open up & talk freely. 


4- Gently Challenge You


counsellor bristol
counsellor bristol

Whilst the counsellor seeks to provide acceptance & non-judgment, that doesn’t mean that they don’t encourage growth & development. Many people seek counselling & therapy because they want change. The counsellor seeks to be alongside & accepting of where you are at in your life, whilst also considering unhelpful thoughts, behaviours & feelings that may be dominating your experience. From this position the counsellor supports gentle exploration & new ways of thinking & behaving to improve how you feel. 


5- Are Reliable & Trustworthy 


counsellor bristol
counsellor bristol

Overall, your experience of your counsellor should be that they are reliable, predictable & trustworthy. This is demonstrated by the counsellor starting & ending on time, ensuring that your counselling session is protected time & acting & talking in ways that feel congruent & genuine. If you feel you can rely on & trust your counsellor, then you are more likely to feel safe & secure to talk through your difficulties. 


Our team of highly qualified & experienced counsellors & psychologists offer a variety of therapy approaches to support people experiencing a range of difficulties, including physical health issues, mental health difficulties, challenges during the perinatal period & workplace stress & difficulties. Services are offered remotely as well as face to face in Bristol & South Gloucestershire.


If you would like to get in touch to explore support options then please do get in contact here.


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