faqI did a quick internet search and found lots of advice on how to find the right therapist/counselor for you or a family member. Some of the best advice is below:

From Psychology Today:
Here’s a brief checklist of qualities to look for when seeking a counseling professional:

  • Do you feel that you have a good fit? Do you feel understood? This is known as a good therapeutic alliance, and studies indicate it may be the single most important factor in successful therapy.
  • Does the professional listen and genuinely understand your statements?
  • Does she help you find your irrational beliefs, and do you agree that they are indeed irrational for you?
  • Does he help you in giving up these beliefs? Does he help you genuinely dispute, in various and creative ways, the beliefs that hold you back? Most irrational beliefs are not immediately apparent to us—they stem from demands that we hold. We place some demands on ourselves, some on others, and some relate to the larger world. People who evaluate the world with these demands are prone to depression, even when they are on medication.
  • Psychiatrists and psychologists often work in tandem, and they work for you: If you find that their work does not significantly help within 10 sessions, then move on. However, if you find someone who helps you in the ways mentioned above, see her for a minimum of 30 sessions.

From David Martin (chaplain at Regent University):

There is a vast difference between a Christian who is a counselor and a Christian counselor. Some counselors use the term Christian because they have learned this may expand their practice.

There are a number of things you need to consider before choosing a counselor:

  • Which type of counselor do you think would be the best? Choosing between a pastoral counselor, lay counselor or a licensed professional is a choice you must make.
  • What is the payment structure? Does the counselor accept insurance payment and is he/she accepted by your insurance? Is there a sliding scale based on ability to pay? Does you church assist people who need counseling?
  • Is there a trusted person (pastor or friend) who recommends this counselor?
  • What kind of licensure or certification does the counselor have?
  • What experience does the counselor have in dealing with your specific issue?
  • Does it matter to you if you have a male or female counselor? It is also important for you to know some things about what this professing Christian counselor believes and how that applies to the way that he or she practices their counseling.
  • Psalm 1 declares that, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly.” You may call the counselors office and tell them that you would like to ask the counselor some questions before you set up an appointment for counseling.

Some of the information you may be able to get from the office worker (or web site):

  • What is your general approach to counseling?
  • How do you integrate Biblical truths into your counseling?
  • Are you involved in a church? Which one and in what role are you involved?
  • How do you integrate Biblical truths into your counseling?
  • What part does prayer play in the way that you counsel? Do you pray with clients?
  • What is their perspective on the miraculous?
  • What is their view on certain on any key moral/ethical issues of concern for you. Issues such as abortion, divorce, remarriage, homosexuality, discipline of children, roles of husband and wife.

From David Powlison (Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation):

Ask your prospective counselor:

1. How would you describe your approach to counseling? How do you understand people’s problems? How do you help them grow and change through counseling? Please describe the process.

2. What books or other resources do you recommend on a regular basis? What books have most influenced your approach to counseling?

3. Are you a Christian? How does your faith affect your view and practice of counseling?

4. Do you bring Christian truth into your counseling practice? How? What role does Scripture play?

5. Do you pray with those you counsel?

6. Do you attend church? If so, where? How long have you been a member?

7. What is your educational and professional background? What role does it play?

8. Are you married? Do you have children? Have you ever been divorced? How does your marriage and family situation affect how you counsel people?

Remember…

Counseling is an interactive process. It is established and maintained on the basis of trust. Open and honest dialogue between a counselor and a counselee is the most important component of building trust. If you cannot establish this foundation early on, so that you are confident that the counselor will be wise, biblical, loving, and faithful in your interaction, you may need to look elsewhere. If you find a wise counselor who uses God’s Word to help you grow in your Christian walk, your marriage and your family, Scripture says you will be blessed!