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Effective counselling & psychotherapy checklist

It is a good idea to use the following checklist to protect yourself, or someone you know, from ineffective or even harmful types of counselling and psychotherapy:

An effective psychotherapist or counsellor:

  • knows how to build rapport quickly with distressed people
  • understands depression and how to set about lifting it straight away
  • helps immediately with anxiety problems including panic attacks, nightmares, trauma, PTSD, phobias or other fear-related symptoms
  • is prepared to give advice if needed or asked for
  • will not use jargon or 'psychobabble'
  • will not tell you that counselling or psychotherapy has to be 'painful' (it definitely does not have to be painful)
  • will not dwell unduly on the past
  • will be supportive when difficult feelings emerge, but will not encourage you to get emotional beyond the normal need to 'let go' of any bottled up feelings
  • will assist you, if necessary, to develop your social skills so that your needs for affection, friendship, pleasure, intimacy, connection to the wider community etc. can be better fulfilled
  • will help you to draw and build on your own resources (which may prove greater than you thought)
  • will be considerate of the effects of counselling / therapy on the people close to you
  • will teach you to relax deeply
  • will help you think about your problems in new and more empowering ways
  • will use a wide range of therapeutic techniques
  • may ask you to do things between sessions
  • will take as few sessions as possible
  • will increase your self confidence and independence and make sure you feel better after every consultation.


How is human givens therapy different from other therapeutic approaches?