A lot of countries do not have regulated mental health practice and because of this, sometimes people who are not professionally qualified might practice counselling or psychotherapy. There is a great deal of harm in this as a client would be disclosing deep emotional material to someone who is not fit to handle it.
So, how can you tell if your counsellor is a professional? Some helpful tips are given here below.
1.Qualifications: Usually, professionals tend to display their qualifications so that it is easier for people to find the right person. You may see their title next to their name or hung in their office. Try going to a person with a masters or at least a one-year diploma. Someone with a doctorate is of course better. If it is not openly displayed anywhere, then ask them their degree. It’s your right to know so don’t be shy.
2.Experience: Sometimes, despite having the degree, some people are not professional in their behaviour and may not last in the field. Therefore, if someone has some years of experience, it means they know what they are doing. Not only should you look at what experience they have, but also whether their fee is commensurate with the experience.
3.Code of conduct: A professional counsellor will follow strict etiquette in terms of fees, appointments, therapy notes, scheduling and rescheduling and other such aspects. If they conduct themselves in a haphazard manner and sound so unsure of themselves that they do not inspire any confidence in you, then they are not professionals.
4.Depth of knowledge: If you feel that your counsellor only keeps telling you common sense things and does not really tell you about aspects of your mind or emotions that you do not already know, then they may not be professionals. At the same time, if they throw a lot of technical jargon at you and are not able to break it down for you, that’s not very thorough knowledge either.
5.Therapeutic skill: Do you feel heard and understood by the counsellor? Have you made any insights or learnt any new skills? If not, then you may not be seeing a professional counsellor. It will be pretty clear within 2 or 3 sessions whether you are being helped by the sessions or not.
6.Clientele: As a rule, a good counsellor is a busy one and often sought after. Therefore, is your counselor’s schedule packed? Are there always appointments before and after yours? If yes, then they may be professional with a good skill set, which is why people are seeking them out.
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is where you got the reference of the counsellor from. Did you get from a trusted doctor or website? If yes, then you may want to give it a shot of 2 – 3 sessions to see how it feels for you. A professional counsellor should be able to make you feel heard and understood.