Elizabeth Nyblade, Ph.D.
Gateway Centre
1313 E. Maple Street
Bellingham, WA 98225
 
P: 360.647.8295
 
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  Question :
  Is all counseling the same?
 Answer :
 

No, because all counselors are different.

There is such a thing as a good counselor. Probably most counselors are good at what they do. But you’re not just looking for a good counselor. You’re looking for a good counselor for you. You want a good fit with a counselor, and that has to do with two things, what the counselor is like and what you are like.

  • Some counselors are very supportive and empathetic and show that to their patients or clients. Others are more aloof and “professional”. 
  • Some counselors are more judgmental than other counselors about issues that are controversial in the culture – like abortion or homosexuality or child-rearing. They may be more inclined to share their personal feelings or judgments about these issues.
  • Some counselors are more knowledgeable than others about biological issues – like pain or head injury. Or they may know more about a specialty area like eating disorders or sexual enrichment counseling. Not all counselors are expert in all things.
  • Some ‘counselors’ are not actually experts at counseling. They may be experts at prescribing medications, or psychological testing, or doing biofeedback for stress management. A psychiatrist may be trained to prescribe medications, for example, but may not be as good at helping his or her patients learn to adjust to difficult circumstances or recover from past traumatic events as a social worker. And someone who’s an expert at diagnosing difficulties to present to the court may not be as skilled at treating those difficulties.
  • Some counselors are very structured and like to set goals formally, give you homework to work on, and take an active part in helping you work toward your goals. These counselors may give you advice and instruction. They may provide written handouts, and recommend books to you. Other counselors are more informal, and respond each week to what you bring in, leaving you to set the agenda and expecting that you are working in the best way to get your needs met as long as you are returning for the next session. They may reflect back your own thoughts more, and insert themselves and their opinions less into the counseling session.
  • You probably can’t judge how good counselors are by the degree they hold. Psychiatrists are the most expensive of the mental health professionals, but research says that they aren’t necessarily better at counseling than psychologists, social workers or mental health counselors.
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Gateway Centre • 1313 E. Maple Street • Bellingham, WA 98225

Telephone: 360-647-8295

Fax: 360.647.8296

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