North Starre Holistic Counseling

Your guide through life's passages

Dianna North MA, CRS

75 Manhattan Dr. #206
Boulder, CO 80303
Phone: 303-499-2567

Choosing a Therapist

All counselors and therapists are better at some things than they are at others. It is your right to find someone who is a good fit for you. Part of finding a good counselor is intuitive, and part of it is based on factual information about both the practitioner and you.

When you commit to counseling, you are purchasing a service. That service could potentially have a significant impact on your emotional health and well-being, so it makes sense to shop around. Think about how you purchased other services or products. You probably did some research prior to making your purchase. Perhaps you asked a friend for a referral, or surfed the internet to start. Then, you may have taken a “test drive” to try out the service or product.

In like manner, it is wise to have a number of initial consultations with a variety of therapists before you settle on one with whom you feel comfortable. Why? Because the core of any effective therapy is the relationship. You need to feel safe and accepted in order to relax into a place of vulnerability where change is possible. In that space, you are better able to explore the parts of self that are calling for transformation.

The following are questions to help you get some clarity about what you want and need:

Questions for you:

  • What do you want help with?
  • Do you want to work with a male or female counselor?
  • How long are you willing to work on the presenting issue?
  • What style of relationship works best for you?
  • Do you like to be challenged?
  • How do you deal with feedback?
  • Do you need to work through an insurance provider?
  • How important is the therapist’s professional and life experience?

Questions for the therapist:

  • How does s/he characterize his/her work style? (long or short term, directive, supportive, behavioral, holistic, etc.)
    • Ask for clarification on any words you don’t understand
  • Does the therapist offer a free initial consultation?
  • Does the counselor have experience working with issues similar to yours, and with people of your age, gender, culture, etc.
  • What qualifications does the practitioner have?
  • What are his/her specialties/interests?
  • How long is a typical session?
  • What is the payment schedule (insurance, self-pay).
    • If going through an insurance provider, do they need to have a diagnosis for reimbursement? Will they discuss that with you?
  • What are the office policies regarding missed appointments, cancelation notices, payment for missed sessions, frequency of meetings, etc.

Other Considerations:

What questions do you need to have answered in order to feel safe with this person?

In all counseling relationships it pays to be honest and to establish an open atmosphere which supports you to voice your concerns, questions, thoughts and feelings. What do you need to keep the lines of communication open?