Where should I look for a counsellor?
You can search for a counsellor on the National Counselling Society's (NCS) UK counselling directory which can be found on the find a counsellor page. The search tool has been designed with the potential client in mind so you can find someone suitable for you, in your desired area, with ease.
The Professional Standards Authority also have a tool you can use to 'check a practitioner in 3 simple steps' which provides a link to a directory of counsellors for each relevant Accredited Register holder.
What should I be looking for?
It is really important that whoever you choose to see is on an Accredited Register (you can find out more about the Accredited Register programme on the Professional Standards Authority's website). Seeing someone who is on an Accredited Register means you have the assurance that the counsellor has met certain standards.
Anyone who is listed on the NCS' Accredited Register is known as a Registrant and must have achieved a certain level of membership, these membership levels are as follows:
Accredited Registrant (MNCS Accred)
Accredited Professional Registrant (MNCS Prof Accred)
Senior Accredited Registrant (MNCS Snr Accred)
Fellow Registrant (FNCS)
When searching for a counsellor you can be sure that anyone with one of the above levels of NCS membership has met the NCS' standards for practice. The standards ensure that relevant training has been completed, valid insurance is in place, regular supervision is taking place, continuing professional development (CPD) is evidenced each year and all members are bound by the Society's code of ethics. Seeing a counsellor on an Accredited Register also means that there is a proper complaints procedure available should things go wrong.
How do I choose?
The therapeutic relationship is really important to help achieve a positive outcome. As a client you should feel safe and comfortable with your therapist.
With the above in mind, the NCS have encouraged all members on their Accredited Register to provide as much information about themselves as possible so that you, the potential client, can get a real feel for the counsellor's approach and way of working. There is also practical information available, including which languages they speak, how much they charge, which areas they might specialise in and whether they work with certain age groups or specific charities.
The NCS's 'find a counsellor' page allows you to search for a counsellor by your location (postcode, town or area) or you can search for those offering different types of counselling such as online or telephone counselling if this is more suitable for you.
Ensure you see someone on an Accredited Register and someone you feel comfortable with. The NCS have created an easy to follow advert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uC3N5kXTcbM&feature=youtu.be
If you are seeing a therapist at the moment and want to check whether they are on an Accredited Register you can search for their name on the NCS's 'find a counsellor' page or via the other Accredited Registers, listed on the Professional Standards Authority's website.