Fort Lauderdale Counseling: Three things to keep in mind when looking for the right Fort Lauderdale counselor
by Seth Grossman, Psy.D.
If you are looking for a counselor and are stuck in making a choice, read on. It’s important to differentiate between making the right choice and ending up with an “okay” choice that just isn’t the right fit because it could lead to therapy that is just not right for you. There are many good counselors in the area, and also a few others. Sometimes, it’s hard to choose from among the good ones so that you end up with an experience that helps move you toward a more fulfilling and enjoyable life.
So you’ve put “Fort Lauderdale Counselor” in your search engine and come up with a bunch of names. Some you’ve disqualified because they’re too far away, too expensive, or just didn’t say the right things or “feel” right. That leaves… somewhere in the hundreds of names from the search engine. Now what? Try applying these three tips to help you decide:
1. Does the counselor treat me like a symptom or a person? The right counselor will connect with you and make you feel as though your experience is real, and can be improved. Many counselors just stick to talking about a symptom and some method to treat it. This is very effective… if you’re a car at the mechanic’s shop getting a leak in your A/C system fixed, but people don’t work that way. This isn’t to say that expertise with your symptoms isn’t important – it is. In fact, you want to ask your counselor about her/his prior experience and success with your particular problems. But just treating some isolated feelings or thoughts doesn’t change the underlying reasons for those feelings or thoughts. When a counselor understands you, the person, the work you do takes on a more permanent effectiveness.
2. Do I feel like the main priority when I’m here? I wonder how you can possibly feel better when your counselor seems to view you as more of a distraction than the reason he/she is there. Yet, modern practice demands pull a lot of good counselors in too many directions. While that is an unfortunate reality of our healthcare field, you have the right to undivided attention, and while some good counselors will get distracted, the right one for you will show you genuine, consistent interest in your well-being. Just as you need to (and will) give real time and attention to your problems, so does your counselor. If your problem is “not” a priority, why bother, right? It’s hard to be invested if your problems are seen as a second priority.
3. Does this counselor and this practice feel safe and trustworthy? To succeed in counseling, you will need to open up and be exposed. To do that effectively, you MUST feel safe, validated, and heard, and you must trust that you will be treated in the most ethical and professional manner. This extends from the waiting room, to the practice staff, to the counselor’s office. There will be times when your concerns will make you feel uncomfortable. Will you feel comfortable with that in here?
Some additional time and effort in making the right choice in a counselor pays huge returns. It’s an investment in yourself that is worth every moment of due consideration I hope that these three tips, along with your good “gut” sense, helps clear the path to your next step in great mental health.
Seth Grossman, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist and director of The Center for Psychological Fitness in Cooper City, FL, just a short drive west of Fort Lauderdale. He and his colleagues cover many specialty areas and services and are dedicated to a holistic, personalized approach to finding your best path to meet your needs. Visit www.psychfitness.com or call 954.434.1886 to start your journey today.