How do you know if your therapist is ethical, and is doing a good job? Here are some things to look out for:
Does the counselor have the training and experience in your problem? A licensed counselor has a masters degree, two additional years of supervised training, has passed a difficult state test, and meets requirements for ongoing education. Beware of unlicensed “counselors” who may have inadequate or no training in therapy.
Is the counselor on the same page as you regarding your goals for therapy?
Does your counselor take interest in you, and is clearly listening?
Most therapies are complete in 4-8 months. Some more severe problems might take a year or longer. Therapy should not go on for years and years. The goal of therapy is to help you learn to manage your own problems, not to continue until you are problem free.
Does the counselor have other counselors for consultation? Is there oversight making sure the counselor is doing a good job? These are reasons to seek a group such as Cheer, rather than an individual counselor.
Your counselor should provide information about your rights as a client, office policies, fees, and confidentiality.
Beware if your counselor is judgmental or critical of you, including your behavior, beliefs, or lifestyle.
Your counselor should not look down on your or treat you as though he is better than you.
Your counselor should not blame or put-down family, friends or partner. However, he should be concerned if you are are in a domestic violence or dangerous situation.
Counselors should not be using you to get their personal needs met or to get therapy at your expense.
Counselors must keep clear boundaries between being a counselor and being a friend.
No unwanted touching. It’s okay for you to initiate a hug, but not the counselor. You don’t have to ever accept unwanted touch.
Absolutely no sexual attempts should be made or accepted.
Your counselor should remain discrete and not greet you if you happen to meet outside of a session. You are free to initiate a greeting, or not.
Beware if your counselor talks excessively about himself and/or self-discloses often without any therapeutic purpose.
Under the code of ethics, counselor can not ask for your help with something not related to your therapy.
Counselors should never release identifying or personal information without your authorization.
Counselors need to be able to accept feedback or admit mistakes.
Beware if your counselor doesn’t listen to you, talks too much, or too little. This should be a comfortable exchange.
Beware if your counselor acts as if she has the answers or solutions to everything. She should not tell you what to do, makes decisions for you, or spend time giving you advice.
Beware if your counselor encourages your dependency by allowing you to get your emotional needs meet from the therapist rather than helping you learn to solve your own problems.
A counselor should not require you to come to therapy more than once a week when you’re not in crisis. Demands that you call and have a phone session if you are sick or on vacation are unethical. You have a right to take a week off without guilt.
Counselor should never try to keep you in therapy against your will.
Counselors should not be augmentative with you or frequently confrontational. He should not lecture you.
Beware if your counselor doesn’t remember your name and/or doesn’t remember your issues from one session to the next.
Your counselor should not answer or look at her phone during your session.
Your counselor should answer or return your calls or emails in a timely manner, but not during therapy sessions.
Your counselor needs to be respectful of your culture, politics and religion. He should not try pushing his beliefs on you.
Your counselor should empathize with you, but not become overwhelmed with your problems.
Your counselor should encourage you to experience your emotional feelings and memories, but allow you to chose how much is comfortable for you.
The counselor should help you resolve your problems, but also to understand and resolve underlying problems and harmful beliefs.
It is not acceptable for your counselor to habitually miss, show up late, or cancel appointments.
Your counselor may suggest homework to help you put new skills into practice. However, he should never threaten you in any way, even jokingly, for lack of progress, missing homework, or for any other reason.
Couples experiencing domestic violence should not be seen together. It’s best if couples being seen separately (with or without domestic violence) each have their own counselor.
A counselor working at a facility (such as Cheer Counseling) should not be asking you to meet her at another location, or to move with her if she is leaving.
I am insistent that you are getting excellent care. If you have any concerns about your counselor, please let me know. Thank you. Linda (my personal cell is (813) 620-4900)