This is a guest post from Catriona Boyle who is trying to raise awareness about this resource.
As it says on the ‘about us’ page, we are keen to encourage comment from as many people as possible – if you think that you have something to say then please get in touch with me.
A few years ago, a friend of ours found herself in a very daunting situation. After struggling with a number of issues and problems, she decided that counselling was a good option for her to help get her life back track. Her initial decision to go for counselling was undoubtedly one of the hardest parts of her entire therapy process, and a very brave one.
However, once she’d decided this, a whole new set of questions arose, and it became apparent that choosing the right counsellor, whilst perhaps not the hardest part of counselling, is undoubtedly one of the most important parts.
There are numerous issues to consider – practical and otherwise. What about, for example, location? Despite counsellors’ assured complete confidentiality people may prefer to see a counsellor that is perhaps outside their local area, but still in surroundings they are comfortable in. Our friend certainly didn’t want to run into anyone she knew, but at the same time needed to know where she was going.
As we were students at the time, money was a paramount issue. There are counsellors that offer reduced rates for students, and the unemployed or those seeking benefits, but how do you find them? No one wants to end up bartering with a counsellor over the price of their mental well being.
And what guarantees that the counsellor is the real deal? There are no laws in the UK that govern counselling, so what’s to stop anyone setting up shop to listen to people’s problems? There are qualifications and professional bodies, but these can often be confusing and over-whelming.
Counselling can take many different approaches – from person-based to psychoanalytic, and it’s important to choose a counsellor with an approach the person will be comfortable with and respond to well.
A daunting situation indeed, and it made us think. What if there was a website that collected all this information, so you could search for your where you live and the surrounding area and find a list of counsellors, with all their information, qualifications, and what areas they cover? Of course, a website like this didn’t exist. So we made one.
Counselling Directory was set up to provide a simple, easy, and most importantly un-daunting way of connecting people that need help with the people that provide it. A comprehensive searching tool, the site allows postcode, town and country searches, and produces a list of counsellors registered in this area. Each counsellor has a profile, listing a bit about themselves, their approaches, what areas they deal with, and all their training, qualification and experience and fees.
The site shows which counsellors are registered/accredited with a professional body, and full profiles are only displayed after insurance and qualification documents are checked or membership with a professional body has been verified.
We hope the site can solve the situation like our friend had. It’s hard enough deciding to undertake counselling, and who wants extra hassle of trying to find a counsellor? The site has also become a huge information bank – there are articles written by the counsellors, as well as comprehensive information on all kinds of distress – from depression to eating disorders to abuse, to help people identify their problems and become informed, not scared.
We’ve heard from many people who have found the site invaluable, reducing the amount of stress and worrying that can contribute to an already difficult enough process.
All Photos from Flickr Creative Commons – click below to see photographers