We often speak with clients who are upset about the way they were treated during treatment or counseling. There are some things to know and look for when seeking a counselor who is competent, trustworthy, and fits your needs.
Counselors must be licensed through the state that they are providing a service in. Somewhere during your initial meeting or assessment, the agency or office should provide you with a disclosure which indicates your counselor’s credentials. Each state requires different credentials but it typically involves completing a higher education program, a license through the state, and continuing education hours. Do not be afraid to ask for their credentials up front if you are not provided with it. If the information is not given to you right away be very weary of their practice.
Also, take a very close look at the paperwork provided to you and read the fine print. Make sure that the treatment center, agency, or office matches your desires and goals. For example, are you attending a treatment facility that advocates for total abstinence? What are the rules about relapse? What type of problems are addressed and does that include the same problems you are having? Remember, not everyone fits into the same box so it’s beneficial to look at all of your options. This is your life we are talking about.
Last, ask your counselor how much experience he or she has in counseling individuals in your demographic. Will your counselor support your lifestyle and more importantly, understand your lifestyle? You have the right to be treated with respect at all times and that includes being respected by not just your counselor but everyone that you interact with while getting the treatment that you deserve.