Taking the first step is the most important step in reclaiming your freedom and joy. Reaching out for help takes courage and strength.

Choosing the right counselor is integral in helping you make good progress toward healing and growth. Below are a few ideas to think about when speaking to a prospective counselor.


Remember, you are looking for someone who can support you through thick and thin. It's not helpful to choose someone that you feel like you have to censor what you say. Being honest with your counselor is an important part of being honest with yourself, and being honest with yourself is absolutely necessary for healing.

You have come into this season of your life with a multitude of experiences, strengths, and challenges. Although some of them might be painful, they are yours and are an important part of who you are. Your counselor should ask questions about your current life situation as well as your early experiences. Looking at your childhood or family encounters can give important clues as to why you feel the way you do. Knowing "why" gives you insight, and insight gives you choices about your feelings and relationships.

Sometimes, people compare therapy to owning a house. There are many things you can do to improve the house. You can paint. That makes the house look nice, and adds value. You can renovate the kitchen. This costs a little more, and takes more time, but, WOW, does it add value to your home! Finally, you can make sure that you have a solid
foundation.  This is a bigger undertaking, and may not look so fancy on the outside, but is really necessary if you plano n owning this house for a long time. A beautiful kitchen doesn't last too long when your house slides off the foundation during an earthquake. Make sure your counselor is willing to do the foundational work with you. This way you will really be able to heal, and feel better longer, rather than feeling better for now.

There is a thought in the counseling world that says, "What happens out there, happens in here."  Plainly put, the feelings and relational patterns that are troubling you in your life have a very high likelihood of showing up in your relationship with your therapist. For example, if you often feel judged by others, you might feel judged by your counselor. THIS IS GOOD NEWS. It's good news because that means there is a rich opportunity for you to work it out in your relationship with your counselor. By doing this you gain insight into your feelings, and learn new ways of relating with others and yourself. Sometimes, this can translate into more peace and joy in your life.

Finding the right match for you is essential. Your counselor should know this, and be willing to support you in this endeavor, even if it means she is not the one for you. Your counselor should be willing to meet with you and let you get an impression of her. After all, you want someone who is looking to support you, not just her bottom line.

Finding the right counselor is a very personal choice. Take your time, and enjoy the journey. I'd like help you in your process. Please call me to set up a free consultation and we can chat about how I might be able to meet your counseling needs.

Blessings in your journey,


Kelly Duggan Shearer, M.A., LMFT

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
626-841- 9165
E-mail: kelly@reclaimfreedomandjoy.com

Offices in Pasadena, CA (near Lake Avenue and California Boulevard) and Glendora, CA
(near the 57 and 210 freeway junction).