The Perfect Counselor

If you’re here, it’s probably for a one of a few reasons: maybe you’re a client of one of the counselors at SureHope and you’re reading to help supplement the work you’re already doing. It also could be that you’re a big reader or advocate for mental health and you’re here to learn more.  You might even be looking for the perfect counselor to help you deal with life right now. Regardless, each post (written uniquely by a different therapist) gives you a taste into the approach, style, and heart of each therapist that has written it.

It’s National Mental Health Counseling Week, so we’re here to celebrate the fact that there are resources for people looking to get well in their minds and hearts. Despite that, people often delay seeking counseling because they want to find the perfect counselor.  It makes sense. Have you ever heard of the common factors of psychotherapy? Basically, there is a theory that suggests that, because therapists have such different approaches to treatment with different methods and models of practice, there is no way to attribute success/effectiveness of counseling to any of those specific models. Instead, the theory is that there are “common factors” that occur regardless of the therapist/counselors’s method that account for success in therapy*. The biggest one of these? The therapeutic relationship or the therapeutic alliance. So what is this therapeutic alliance made up of?

  • Trust
  • Empathy
  • Acceptance
  • Kindness, friendliness, warmth
  • Authenticity
  • Collaboration
  • The emotional bond between client and therapist/counselor
  • The therapeutic contract (i.e. counselor and client agree on and work towards the same goals)

When these factors are present, the theory is that this sets the stage for good, healthy change. It makes sense, doesn’t it?  So then why the frantic search for the perfect counselor?  What’s your criteria for the prefect counselor?

I have two guidelines for you while you search for your perfect counselor:

  1. Remember that generally, it takes 3-4 sessions for your therapist to assess and make sure that the fit is right between you two. Sometimes it has to do with personality, sometimes it has to do with the therapist’s skill and specialty in the area you need. Give it some time to see how it goes.
  2. There is only one perfect Counselor that ever existed – Jesus. Isaiah prophesied about a messiah who would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6-7). A counselor is not just a professional title; it is someone who provides guidance and wisdom, truth in love, and encouragement. This is Jesus.  And why put the word “wonderful” in front of it? To remind us that our great Counselor and guide, Jesus, also inspires a sense of curiosity and awe in us as He guides us.  James 1:5 tells us that “if any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” He’s perfect because he is generous, merciful, and wise. So remember this: your perfect counselor is Jesus. He will never fail to guide you and He delights in it. You won’t find another as perfect as He is. But what you CAN find is a GREAT counselor who encourages you to change as they push you towards Jesus with empathy, understanding, wisdom, and trust.

Here at SureHope Counseling, we can guarantee that Jesus is elevated above all, and our goal is to help you become complete in who you were created to be. We aren’t perfect and we are fine with that because we know Who is. Praying that you find the courage to seek out a counselor.

-Mary M. Shea – https://surehopecounseling.com/therapists/mary/

 

*https://cphtbristol.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/commonfactors21stcentury-.pdf