5 Tips to Choose the Right Counsellor in Singapore

A person holding a pen above a to-do list paper to write down the steps for choosing the right counsellor. Several items, such as a coffee mug, watch, glasses, keyboard and notebooks are on the table.

Choosing the right counsellor in Singapore can seem overwhelming at first. However, you can make this process smoother and more effective with a few practical tips. 

Like any other relationship, a client-counsellor relationship is also unique to the people involved. What approach or style works for you may not work for someone else. 

If you are just starting out your mental wellness journey, you may want to know how to recognise the right counsellor for your issues. 

To answer your question, we have expanded on 5 major tips and steps that you can follow to choose the right counsellor in Singapore!

Identify Your Therapy Goals

Before you choose the right counsellor, you may want to identify your therapy goals. 

Identifying your goals is about understanding what you hope to achieve through therapy. The first step can seem daunting, but it can be simpler than you might think. 

Start by reflecting on what’s bothering you. Your issues could be personal, work-related stress, academic, or interpersonal relationships. 

Next, think about what you wish to do with your problems. Are you hoping to set realistic couple goals? Or are you keen on moving on from your relationship?

Other emotional examples could include solving a problem, such as your struggles to live in a new country, or overcoming a psychological hardship (eg negative thought patterns or feeling sad for no reason).

Your goals can vary widely and can even change every day. Hence, you may want to write down your thoughts in a notebook to refer to while choosing the right counsellor. 

In your notebook, create two lists. Under one list, write down daily challenges you find difficult to handle. These could include finishing your work on time, having no friends, social media addiction etc. 

Under the second list, write down if you are diagnosed with a mental health condition (eg generalised anxiety disorder) or if you suspect that you may have a disorder. 

At Talk Your Heart Out (TYHO), you will find a list of issues our counsellors can help you overcome. The points you note in this first step can be useful when you review the counsellor’s profiles! 

Remember, it is okay if your goals are not yet clear. Therapy is a journey, and your objectives and expectations can evolve over time. 

The important thing is to begin with a direction in mind, even if it is as simple as wanting to feel better.

Front view of a person sitting and writing down therapy goals in a notebook for choosing the right counsellor.

Review the Counsellor’s Profile

The second tip while choosing the right counsellor is to review their full profiles. 

At TYHO, you can visit each counsellor’s profile to review their background. Here, you will find information about the counsellor’s:

  • Qualifications
  • Clinical experience
  • Therapeutic expertise
  • Research backgrounds
  • Therapeutic approach 
  • Issues they help with
  • Languages they speak
  • Personal interests and character

We suggest going through all the information above to choose the right counsellor. In fact, you can also watch their short introductory videos to get to know the counsellor.

During this step, refer to your therapy goals and check if any counsellor can help you with them. 

For example, if you struggle with mood swings, feeling emotional, or fatigue – you can look for counsellors who can help with depression and anxiety. 

Under the section ‘Therapeutic Approaches’, you will find all the techniques a counsellor uses during their sessions. 

Lastly, read the counsellor’s description to better understand where they come from and what kind of help they can offer. 

If you have any questions or requests, feel free to contact us at [email protected].

Ask Questions

When choosing the right counsellor, try to review their therapeutic approach and style. 

Below are some key questions you can consider asking your counsellor before your first therapy session!

  • Firstly, ask about the counsellor’s therapeutic approach. Do they lean towards psychodynamic methods or cognitive-behavioural techniques?
  • Secondly, ask the counsellor about the structure of the sessions. Does the counsellor encourage you to lead with topics on your mind, or are sessions more structured with specific agendas? 
  • Lastly, ask if the counsellor sets clear objectives at the beginning of sessions and how frequently these goals are reviewed. Clarifying goal setting initially can help you stay on the same page as your counsellor.

Asking the above questions can help you set expectations for all the sessions you may wish to attend. 

Do note that at TYHO, our counsellors may share their clinical impressions regularly and provide you with a therapeutic plan based on your needs. 

Hence, if you have any concerns, talk openly with your counsellor to adjust your plan.

A client asking questions to the counsellor during a counselling session. Asking questions can help in choosing the right counsellor!

Consider the Cultural Fit

The fourth step in choosing the right counsellor is considering the cultural fit. 

For example, if you are part of the LGBTQ+ community, you may want to choose a counsellor who is affirming and knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ issues. 

Read: All You Need to Know About Ethical Non-Monogamy

At TYHO, all our counsellors are non-judgmental and open-minded. However, if you are specifically looking for someone with specialisations in LGBTQ+ issues, we recommend checking their full profiles or contacting us for more information!

Some people may prefer to choose a same-sex counsellor. These people may feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts with someone of a specific gender. 

Another important factor includes the counsellor’s background. For example, if you are from an Asian family, a counsellor who understands your culture may be more capable of addressing your issues sensitively. 

We have counsellors in Singapore who speak multiple languages and come from diverse backgrounds. You will find all the information you need about the counsellor in their full profiles!

Do a Comfort Check

The final step in choosing the right counsellor is to do a comfort check. 

Initially, sharing your deepest fears and secrets with someone you have just met can seem scary. Know that the fear and hesitation of starting therapy are common and experienced worldwide. 

Give yourself some time to adjust to therapy. During this time, try to gauge if your counsellor is the right fit for you. 

After each session, take some time out to reflect on a few aspects. Do you feel a sense of relief? Did you feel understood and validated by your counsellor? You may have the right fit if you answer yes to both questions!

The right counsellor will listen to you actively and engage with you in a way that helps you think outside the box and from a fresh perspective. 

If you find that the fit isn’t quite right after giving it some time, do not hesitate to change your counsellor.

Visit our Singapore counselling page to read more about our counsellors.

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