Most people will utilize Psychology Today and type in their zipcode. Others will ask family and friends. And of course, you can always just Google your city and what type of counseling you want.
Once you find a counselor that seems like a good fit for you, then you can call or email them. You can usually get an idea of what kind of personality they have on the phone, but meeting them in person will give you the best idea of their personality and counseling style.
All counselors are different too. Some are older, younger, male, female, religious or secular. Some use humor, some stay stoic. Some like to do all the talking, and some like to do all the listening. Do you get friendly, good vibes from them? Or does it seem like they don’t “get” you?
And every client is different too. Some clients prefer to just answer questions while some prefer to lead the conversations. Some clients want someone to challenge them while others just want someone to agree with them.
Unfortunately, you really don’t know how well you will “click” with the counselor until you meet them. After you meet them, you are not locked in. You can always switch or transfer to another therapist. Yes, this can be cumbersome because you don’t want to have to start over with a new therapist. But if you are not comfortable for any reason, then you have a right to switch and be comfortable! This is a counselor that you are sharing your personal information with and getting recommendations from. Having a mental health professional that you are comfortable with is priceless!
Take home message: trust your instincts, reach out, and then switch if you need to. It is your life and your journey, so you get the ultimate say in your treatment.