If you have made the decision to seek a family counselor, the next task will be to find the right counselor. Finding one who will help you overcome your problems is not easy and requires a thorough scrutiny of various factors. The following are some of the important things that you should consider.
The counselor’s credentials and level of education:
There are several people who consider themselves as counselors because they have attended seminars related to counseling activities. It is, however, inevitable that without a degree in family therapy, marriage, or counseling psychology, you do not deserve to handle counseling and other related tasks. Without any of the above-stated degrees, you lack the training, education, and skills to handle counseling affairs. Psychology is extensive field and humans are complex and multifaceted. It takes several years of training and education to help people effectively.
Having a license means the counselor passed the licensing exam as required by the state authorities. Although there are unlicensed counselors with several years of experience and do great jobs, they still miss important aspects when helping clients. In order to verify that a counselor is licensed, you can contact your state’s professional licensing board.
Does the Counselor Engage in Regular Peer Consultation Programs?
Counselors engage in regular consultation with peers in order to discover their blind spots. This important activity also helps review cases, receive advice, and update with the latest developments in the field of counseling. Even the most renowned counselors attend and benefit from such consultation programs.
Never hire a counselor blindly just because he or she is the only one available in town. Getting a family counselor referral from trusted sources is crucial because it serves as an assurance that he/she has helped someone you know. It is, however, important to keep in mind that success in another case may not translate to your situation.
Location of the Counselor:
It is important to consider the location of your counselor for convenience purposes. Hiring a family counselor in your neighborhood facilitates easy access to his/her office or to your home. There is no need of increasing your expenses by traveling miles away in search of counselor whereas there is a competent one in your locality.
It is up to you to decide the amount you be comfortable with paying for a family counselor. There are several questions you should ask a counselor with regards to charges. The questions are such as; how much does he charge per session? Are there charges for missed and cancelled sessions? Will you pay before or after all sessions? Can your insurance cover up for the fees? If you are facing financial constraints, make it known to the counselor and he/she might offer discounts or refer you to a lower cost option.
Adherence to Ethical Principles Regarding Confidentiality and Dual Relationships:
There are several ethical guidelines that prevent counselors from hurting their clients. There are guidelines barring dual relationships such that a family counselor should have other relationships with family members. The counselor should not be a teacher, friend, or employer of any of your family members. The family counselor should also never disclose what you to discuss to other parties.