Looking for a counsellor can be overwhelming. North Shore counsellor Brooke Evans of BE Integrative Counselling explains how to get started on your journey.
1. Make a list and start your search
Think about the things that are important to you when you’re seeking support. These can be practical – like location and availability – or emotional. “What will help you feel safe and supported based on your values, beliefs, age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, spirituality and so on?” says Evans. Good starting points for your search are websites like Counsellingbc.com and psychologytoday.com.
2. Be aware of the cost-effective options
“The North Shore offers free counselling support through government and non-profit agencies – you can find out more about that by phoning the Mental Health Support Line on 310-6789,” says Evans. “When hiring a private counsellor, ask their hourly rates and check if they offer a sliding scale if financial barriers are a concern. Your counsellor should ensure you are aware of all the resources that are available so you never pay over your means.”
3. Consider therapeutic approaches
You probably don’t know whether you need CBT, mindfulness training, yoga and breath work, or a personalized combination, which is what Evans offers. “Read the counsellor’s approaches on their website and ask them to explain more when you call them,” Evans says. “The approach should feel self-empowering and your counsellor should also be able to recommend practitioners outside their own scope, for example, doctors, reflexologists and so on.”
4. Trust your intuition
“Look at the photo on the counsellor’s website: Are you going to feel comfortable developing a therapeutic relationship with them?” says Evans. “Did the counsellor make you feel safe and comfortable during the first phone contact? If not, it might not be the right fit.”
5. Be willing to put the work in
Evans believes success in therapy depends on the person’s willingness to put in the work and go through the process. She says: “This means you come prepared to feel uneasy at first because even positive change can feel uncomfortable or painful. The right counsellor can empower you to find the inner strength and wisdom to evoke the change you want to see in your life.”
Evans sees clients at Compliments Healthcare, West Vancouver Community Centre, and 302 – 566 Artisan Lane Bowen Island. Find out more at Becounselling.ca, call 604-781-3987 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.