I often get asked the question, “Do you know a good counselor in [name of city]?” This post summarizes the guidance I give when the answer to their question is, “I’m sorry. I don’t know someone I can personally recommend there.”
In this post, I will assume you are seeking counseling. However, often times when I am asked this question, it is for a friend or family member. If that is the case, you can simply change the pronouns from “I” to “my friend.”
- Step One: Make a list of trusted churches you know in that area. This choice may be denominationally-based for you. Or, perhaps there is a network of churches that aligns with your beliefs. Maybe there are several pastors in that area you’ve heard preach and you appreciate how they teach the Bible.
- Step Two: Call these churches and ask, “Who do you recommend for counseling?” At this point, you do not have to provide a significant amount of personal history. You might clarify by saying that you are seeking “marriage counseling” or “personal counseling” or “addiction counseling.” As you call multiple churches, take note of any counselor(s) / center(s) that are repeated among your trusted churches.
- Step Three: Call the counselor / center that was most repeated among your trusted churches. This is the phone call where greater personal disclosure is advised: “I am seeking counseling for [describe in a concise 2-3 minute summary]. I have contacted several churches I trust and they recommended you. I want to know if you have training in my area of need. If not, is there another Christian counselor you would recommend for this type of life struggle?”
- Step Four: Schedule an appointment. At the end of this process, you will have identified a trusted counselor who is recommended by the Christian community in this area, and/or allowed that counselor to direct you to someone who is well-trained in your area of need.
- Note: If you are calling for a friend or family member, you will not be able to schedule an appointment for them. But you will have identified a best-fit counselor for needs that you can recommend to them.
Additional guidance on how to interview a prospective counselor is provided by the Christian Counseling & Education Foundation (CCEF). I hope this post helps you (or your loved) one find a quality Christian counselor in [name of city].
If this post was beneficial for you, then considering reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on the Church and Counseling” post which address other facets of this subject.