Looking for a real counselor?

Let’s be honest.

Most counselors suck.

I remember going to a counselor who sat there for an hour and charged me a crazy amount. Then he went on to betray my trust publicly.

I’ve met with hundreds of clients who have complained their previous counselor didn’t help them at all, didn’t seem interested, and were clock watchers.

I’ve also met with many people who have gone to a psychiatrist and walked out twenty minutes later with a prescription and a feeling of hopelessness?

Are we supposed to self medicate for the rest of our lives?

I am not a passive listener. I have opinions. I have experience and education and I didn’t get my certification from a three month course. Good counselors know about things like cbt, trauma, ptsd, STOPP therapies, DBT, psychoanalysis, cognitive distortions etc. They have at least a passing understanding of current medications and have worked with clinical and medical professionals. Chances are they work in a real clinic or government sponsored agency.

A good counselor will assure you that you will see real change in a short period of time. If I don’t help you within two or three months – I mean really help you – then fire me. I would.

Quit reading self-help books and talking to people with credentials but no real life experience or understanding.

Email me at info@scott-williams.ca and let me help you help yourself. Your issue is not a terminal illness.

24 thoughts on “Looking for a real counselor?

  1. You are speaking the truth. I have had many clients who come to me with stories I couldn’t believe about how ineffective their previous therapist was. I believe if by the end of the third session you don’t feel like your shrink is assisting you in creating change in your life it may be best to move on. I once worked with a client who stayed with her therapist for close to 20 sessions but did not get much results (yes, the client was motivated to heal). This is sad. I am all about returning to the mindset of therapists as healers who waste little time in assisting people in finding ways to transform. Some cases will take longer than others but after a while if the magic isn’t happening you need to get a new healer.

  2. Well said! Sometimes I cringe when I talk to fellow counselors who I know can’t possibly be good counselors simply from either their lack of knowledge, ability to empathize or lack of genuine warmth. I also cringe when I speak to clients who are skeptical of therapy because they have had counselors who sat their and took 20 glances at the clock over 50 minutes or a psychiatrist who had them in and out of the room in five minutes with nothing but a prescription. Not everyone is meant to be a counselor. To be a counselor means you genuinely care for people and you care about them enough to continue to educate yourself, better yourself and want to help them get better and are eventually able to sustain better mental health on their own.

  3. Scott — What I find with pastors so often is that many take theology classes and learn a lot about God (at least hypothetically), but really lack an understanding of people. I think that’s why churches end up so darn dysfunctional so much of the time.

      1. Yeah, they gave my sister that same treatment and now she is 11 and weighs only 70 pounds. It’s horrible, but she is a healthy person, high metabolism but just looks so sickly.

  4. Many people shouldn’t be counselors, but are. Many people shouldn’t be pastors, but are. Many people shouldn’t be parents, but are. Seems to be the theme of life. I think the issue is more that many people set a life goal but refuse to change their ideology of it. Even moreso, I think they become tired, jaded, and embittered (or potentially over-focused).

    I considered going into counseling and realized how over-empathetic I can be. I love to help others, but I take their burdens as my own and can’t separate the two. What does that mean? If I had become a counselor, I would have shut down completely. Instead, I have taken a different route that has allowed me to help others, offer informal counseling (VERY different than therapy and professional counseling!), confidently refer when needed (some months it seems more often than not), and be a firm encourager into the lives of others.

    Maybe we all need to ask if we’re really willing and *able* to step it up to be what we ought. Perhaps our personalities, toolbelt, and experience may be better used elsewhere to help others instead?

    Self-reflection is a beautiful thing.

  5. I agree with this. I saw a great counselor for awhile in my late teens who really helped me tremendously. After I stopped seeing her I went about my new well-adjusted life for a good 10+ years. Then things happened in life and I found myself feeling alone and depressed so I sought out another therapist. I quickly found out that not all counselors are the same. This new therapist did not seem the least bit interested in any of my struggles, in fact seemed openly hostile towards me before I even shared them. Her only solution was to send me to the psychiatrist who prescribed me three different medications after a five minute meeting with him. Three! I stopped seeing both of them and decided it was better to figure things out on my own than to go down the med path. I had already seen where it took my mother who ended up on 19 different medications and became a completely different person.

  6. Dear Scott:

    Thanks for following and liking my posts. I signed up to follow you as well. You seem like a very cool man and not just because my writing resonates with you, Hope you’re doing well with the storm.

  7. I find your energy refreshing… but I have to say that there are always issues that can’t be fixed with only three or four months of counseling. I am an incest survivor with a diagnosis of both bipolar and c-ptsd. Over the years addiction, self-harm, and suicide attempts meant revolving door stays at the psych ward for me. Things are way better now, way better, but that’s from 3 years of hard work with a great therapist, suitable medication, and participation in an intensive trauma program (weekly groups for two months, followed by a daily program for another two months). I don’t believe that therapy has to be a lifelong commitment, but I do think healing takes time, even with a skilled therapist.

  8. Finding the best psychologist for me has been, along with a supportive and knowledgeable pastor, the greatest aspect in healing. They are the first two people I have ever been able to trust. And they prove it to me in their actions, words, insight, support–and lack of judgment. I know they have both been put into my life for a reason and I am so grateful.

  9. Thanks for sharing that. My first therapist was no help at all. Fortunately I kept working on things and ended up becoming a counselor and psychotherapist myself. I very much agree if the counselor is not helping you, think hard about what you need and go looking for it.

  10. I agree with you on this. I’m working on my counseling degree and I see a lot that scares me about people going into the profession.

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