Make sure he or she is BACP or UKRC/UKCP Registered.
Make sure there is a complaints’ procedure.
Ask for an initial two-way assessment session.
If you feel very uncomfortable with a counsellor, trust this instinct.
But bear in mind that counselling is very rarely easy.
Sort out payment methods at the outset (even Relate charges).
Establish a contract – how long will you see this counsellor for?
Talk to the counsellor – you can say anything by right.
But be thoughtful and quiet if you want.
Expect changes not miracles. You cannot buy a new personality; but you can change behaviour and start to use feelings that have been repressed or asleep. Confronting your personal demons is a serious and potentially hazardous undertaking. It is serious because you often have to work hard by feeling worse before you can get any better. It is dangerous because anyone can call themselves a therapist including those in cults, churches or companies pedlling instant salvation. The one thing I have learned from therapy is that if it works it takes time. If it could be done by signing on for a weekend workshop there wouldn’t be any problems left. But if you follow my ten safety rules, you could gain new confidence and freedom.