6 Things To Look For In Counseling Centers Near Me

By Stephanie Kirby

Updated November 11, 2019

Reviewer Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC

There are many reasons why people decide to seek counseling. The loss of a loved one, a mental health struggle like depression or bipolar disorder, or dealing with life events and challenges may all prompt someone to seek counseling. If you've been thinking about finding a counselor yourself, you may be looking for help on how to find counseling centers you.

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What to Look for In Counseling Services Near Me

If you're looking for counseling centers near you, the first thing that you need to do is determine what type of counselor you're looking to work with. There are many different types of mental health professionals that might use the title of 'counselor' or 'therapist'.

For example, if you are interested in talking to a mental health professional about prescription medication, you're going to want to find a psychiatrist. They are medical doctors specializing in mental health that can write prescriptions. If you choose a counselor that is a licensed psychologist or licensed professional counselor, they will refer you for a medication evaluation with a psychiatrist or other medical doctor if medication is needed or you want it.

So, when you determine what your actual needs are, here are some things that you should look for in counseling centers near you.

  1. Check Credentials

When it comes to the credentials for mental health professionals there's a long list that you can choose from. You will see letters that follow a professional's name. These letters represent what type of credentials the professional has.

This could be anything from a master's degree or a Ph.D., to a state license. State licenses typically indicate a professional has met a set of requirements in order to obtain that license. Understanding what these letters mean can be important for getting you the help that you're looking for.

If you have any questions about the credentials of someone that you want to work with, ask them. Any trustworthy counselor will be more than willing to share their credentials with you as well as provide you with the information of where you can look to verify their licensing.

2. Check Specialties

Not every counselor specializes in the same area. While it's perfectly OK to work with someone that doesn't have a specific area that they focus on, there may be times when you'd prefer that someone have a particular level of expertise in the problem you want to address.

For example, if you're struggling in your marriage, you may want to find a counselor who works with couples in particular. While you might be able to get help from other counselors, if someone specializes in marriage and family relationships, it's more likely that they have specialized strategies and advice to help you and your situation.

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  1. Check Affordability

The cost of counseling can vary. There are options for free counseling, and there are counselors that will cost you hundreds of dollars for each session. This cost can vary based on where you're located and the type of credentials that your counselor has.

This is why it's important to find out what the cost of each session will be before you get started. There are options to help make counseling more affordable such as sliding scales and health insurance coverage.

If you have health insurance, make sure that you understand what type of coverage you have, what it covers, and that you find a counselor that will accept your insurance.

  1. Trust

Counseling is only going to be able to help you to the extent that you're able to trust your counselor. If you don't trust them, you're not going to share the personal information that you need to for them to truly help you.

If you're looking for a marriage or relationship counselor, both you and your significant other must be able to trust the counselor. This is how you get the best results out of your counseling sessions.

Remember that if you are new to counseling, it may feel uncomfortable to talk to a stranger about personal issues, but if that feeling doesn't go away after one or two sessions, then you're going to want to look for someone else to meet with.

  1. Location

If you're looking for a counselor to meet in person, you're going to need to consider the location. You want to make sure that you can easily get to their office for your sessions and then it won't be too complicated for you or your partner to travel there.

  1. Types Of Counseling Services Offered

There are different types of therapy. Different types are beneficial for different situations. Talk to the counselor to see what options they offer for your specific situation.

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How To Find A Counseling Center Near Me

Online Search

The internet makes finding professionals to work with easier than ever. You can get started by simply tying "counseling centers near me" into the search box, and you'll be able to see all the options that are around you.

Make sure that you check reviews and that you also verify the information listed above before choosing someone to work with. This is a great starting way to see what options you have in your surrounding area.

Ask for A Doctor Referral

Some medical doctors are familiar with local counseling resources. If you feel comfortable discussing this with your doctor, as her for a referral for counseling services.

However, just because your doctor refers you to someone does not mean that they're going to be the best fit for you. You still want to do your due diligence when choosing the right counselor.

Ask Family and Friends

Family and friends can be a great resource for finding the right counselor. If you know that a friend or family member has gone to counseling for a similar situation as you, it can be helpful to get their opinion on their counselor. They may also be able to tell you ones that they had negative experiences with to help you avoid going to the wrong person.

However, you want to remember that each person is different. This means that a counselor that worked for a friend or family member might not be the best fit for you.

Options for Free Counseling Services Near Me

If you're struggling to find affordable counseling, there are several free options that you can consider. What's available is going to depend on what area you live in and what area you're looking for counseling in.

If you're in school, there are usually counselors that are available for you to meet with either free or at a very affordable price. Talk to the administration office to see what options are available for you.

Many cities and counties in the U.S. also provide health clinics where you can get free or low-cost mental health services. You can check with your local health care center to see what kind of services they provide.

You can also check with local religious organizations in your area. Many churches have pastors that provide counseling for free to members and others in the community. You can check with your local church to see what services are available. If they aren't able to help you, they might be able to point you in the right direction. It's important to understand that many pastors have not received any or the same level of training in counseling that mental health professionals do.

What If I Don't Like the Options That Are Near Me?

What happens if you don't have a good option in your area? Or, what if you can't afford the counseling services near you? ReGain offers online counseling that you can access from anywhere you are.

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This removes the physical limitation of having to work with a counselor in your area. You can find one that's a great fit for you regardless of where each of you is located. This also helps if you're doing couples therapy and are in a long-distance relationship.

Online therapy services can also be more affordable than in person sessions. You have the advantage of not having to wait for a long time before you can get an appointment. If you're struggling to find counseling that matches what you're looking for in your area, give online counseling a try.

Counseling can help you with a wide range of life challenges. If you're struggling with something, there are counselors available both online and in-person to help you learn how to manage and overcome what you're facing.


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