Which Professional Is Right For Me?
The word Counsellor is not yet regulated in British Columbia. This means that literally, anyone who considers himself / herself a “good listener” can promote themselves as a “Counsellor” and offer to sell you counselling services. Because of this, it is essential that you become an educated consumer so that you are protected from unskilled and uninsured people offering potentially dangerous services to the public.
In the province of British Columbia there are four primary professional designations that you should consider when thinking about hiring a counsellor.
- Registered Clinical Counsellor
- Registered Psychologist
- Registered Social Worker
While there may be other people presenting themselves with similar names you should make further inquiries as to their qualifications and what professional protection they are able to provide you.
Below are some questions that you will want to ask anyone that you consider working with.
- Do they have at least a Master’s Degree in a Counselling related field?
- Do they belong to a recognized professional “regulatory” body like the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors or the Canadian Counselling Association?
- What do their previous clients have to say about their effectiveness?
- Are their fees reasonable? Some professionals charge such large fees that even if your extended health plan covers them you only get 2-4 sessions before you are left without help. Make sure the cost of fees relates to the value of the service.
- Does their practice of Counselling involve goal-setting and working toward making change in a reasonable time frame?
Take Your Time
Deciding to pursue counselling and beginning the process are big decisions and you will want to do your homework. Read about any counsellors or clinics you are thinking about working with, talk with them, and get a good sense that they will be the right fit. Your instincts can be your best friend through this process.
Regardless of someone’s professional designation, once you ensure that your chosen counsellor has the minimum requirements of education, regulatory membership, and experience, the MOST important thing is how you FEEL when you sit with them. If it feels comfortable and easy to sit and talk with your chosen counsellor and all of the preceding criteria have been met, your potential for a successful counselling outcome becomes the best it can possibly be.