You’re ready. You’ve made the decision to go to an Atlanta counselor. Now what?
If you’re like most people, the idea of finding a counselor sounds a little overwhelming.
Where do I start?
Will I find someone I like?
Will they understand me?
These are questions most people have when deciding to see a counselor, and it’s not surprising. One of the most important factors in the therapeutic process is the counselor-client relationship, also known as the therapeutic alliance. If you have a good connection, you’re more likely to find the process helpful. But how do you choose?
The truth is, there are many types of counseling professionals, each with their own strengths, specialties, and personalities. How do you choose the right one for you? To help you get started, check out these tips to find your Atlanta Counselor.
Before you start searching for an Atlanta counselor, take a moment and think about your preferences and who you might be most comfortable with.
- Do you have a gender preference?
- Do you like someone who’s laid back and or do you prefer someone with a more direct approach?
- Do you prefer a mature counselor?
- Are you seeking someone who practices from a spiritual or religious perspective?
- Do you have specific needs regarding availability (e.g., evenings, Saturdays)?
- Do you prefer face-to-face or is telehealth more your style?
These are just a few of the many examples of things that you may have a preference for. Take some time and make your list. Next, it’s time to see who is out there.
Finding An Atlanta Counselor
You can do a quick search on Google and you will probably find several therapists in your area. Many therapists have a website or maintain an online professional profile. There are also a number of reputable online “Find A Therapist” directories where you can view online profiles and learn more about the therapist. One of the largest and most popular directories is the Psychology Today therapist directory. You can search by gender, specialty, location and more.
If you’re comfortable, ask family or friends for a recommendation. Chances are someone you trust has seen a counselor. You can ask questions about the counselor’s style and such to determine if they might be a good fit for your needs.
You can ask your healthcare provider for a recommendation as well. They often have knowledge about the local counseling community and can help you find someone. If you’re planning to use insurance, ask your plan for a list of providers who specialize in the area you’re seeking help for.
Most importantly, look for someone who is licensed to provide mental healthcare in your state.
Check Your List
As you see who is out there, look for those counselors who seem to fit the specific needs you identified. Look at their directory profiles. Check out their website. If you’re getting a recommendation from someone, ask about their experience with that counselor. As you do this, you’ll find you’re getting a feel for who might be a good fit.
You’ve researched counselors and narrowed it down to a couple of choices. Armed with your short list of Atlanta counselors, it’s time to reach out. Choose a therapist to see and make the call. Some therapists may even have online scheduling for first time clients.
Keep Your First Appointment
This is where you’ll get to see how well you fit together. A first appointment is a time for you to get to know the counselor and the counselor to get to know you. This is a time to ask questions and learn about the therapist. Expect to be asked a lot of questions too. It’s normal to be a little nervous.
When you find your “fit”, you will know it. A good fit means that you are connecting and creating that all-important therapeutic alliance so essential to reaching your treatment goals. So, what does a good fit look like?
- You feel able to honestly share your feelings without fear of judgment
- You feel validated and understood by your counselor
- You feel as if your counselor “gets you”
- You feel motivated to attend and participate in your sessions
Taking the time to find your fit is worth the effort. Once you find your counselor, you will be on your way to finding solutions that can help you live your life in balance and harmony.