How to Find a Counselor

Looking for a counselor in Boulder County, Colorado?

So, you’re smart. REALLY smart. Maybe even just a little bit smarter than most everyone around you. And while that might have some benefits in the day-to-day, it makes it really hard to find a trusted advisor – let alone a trusted partner – to talk to about how you’re really feeling. You need someone who sees beyond the smart to understand your full experience and who can talk with you about depression, or whether you might have an anxiety disorder, or how to better connect in relationships. You’ve been thinking about trying to find someone to talk to professionally for quite some time, but you trip yourself up in the process by thinking you should be smart enough to figure this out on your own, or wondering how you’ll find someone who can keep up with you and help you cut through your own b.s. without making the process insufferable.

You’ve come to the right place.

Finding the right counselor can be a difficult task, particularly in Boulder County where there might more therapists per capita than hiking trails. And, there are just so many different modalities: CBT, talk therapy, Jungian, psychodynamic, somatic experiencing, EMDR, brainspotting, psychoanalysis, and on and on. It’s enough to make your head spin, even though you’re usually pretty skilled at zeroing in on exactly what you need, at least when it comes to your professional life.

My recommendations:

 Erin k. tierno, lcsw-R, psychotherapy for dynamic women in louisville, co

Erin k. tierno, lcsw-R, psychotherapy for dynamic women in louisville, co

  1. Commitment: Consider whether you are ready to commit to a process of exploration that may involve a considerable financial and time investment, as well as emotional risks. Some modalities such as CBT address issues in a shorter-term, more symptom-based approach that is less about a significant, deep-dive to self-understanding and more about stopping the bad feelings in the moment. Some modalities, like talk therapy or psychoanalysis, approach this work like you might fitness: one doesn’t become fit, quit going hiking or to the gym, and then remain fit just by virtue of having done the work up to that point; it is an ongoing process of self-discovery and lasting change. If you are interested in making the commitment to really know yourself, then aim for a therapist who plans to navigate this exploration alongside you for some time.
     
  2. Consultation: Schedule several initial phone consultations, and perhaps even several paid, initial, in-person sessions with different counselors. Every therapist, no matter the modality, has a different personality and something that has become very clear to me in the years I’ve done this work is that the therapeutic relationship, the relationship between you and the therapist, is the single most important piece. While you can’t guarantee a good fit through a 20-minute phone consultation (or even several in-person sessions), you can probably figure out who will be a bad fit and that’s a crucial piece of information. Don’t you think?
     
  3. Framework: Set up a clear framework for yourself to allow the process to get started. It may be awkward or uncomfortable at first, or you may have some feelings come up that you weren’t expecting. Many people’s first instinct when that happens is to RUN! Cancel all future sessions, head for the hills. However, if you structure for yourself that once you choose a therapist to proceed with you will give it, say, 6-months before making any decisions about whether you’ll continue with that counselor, you are going to be more likely to succeed.
     
  4. Communication: Within that 6-month framework, make sure to verbalize to your counselor all the myriad of possible ways she or he is “doing it wrong” or being unhelpful (or maybe even getting it right!). If you discover that the counselor is not interested or, worse, responds in a punitive manner, then you have my permission to RUN! Cancel all future sessions, head for the hills. But, if the therapist is engaged, interested, curious about your experience, and able to keep up with you…then you just might have a workable therapeutic relationship that you can build on for years to come.

If you have questions or want to talk about how counseling can help you, click here to get started.