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SFU Health and Counselling Services
Registered Clinical Counsellor

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Instead of continuing booking with someone you aren’t vibing with, it’s important to know there are options and you shouldn’t let this deter you from counselling altogether.

Deciding to book with a counsellor is an important step, especially if it’s your first time reaching out for support. After doing the initial intake and waiting for your appointment time, it can feel quite disappointing if you meet and start to feel like it’s not the right fit. 
 

How Will I Know If I Do Have a Good Fit with My Counsellor?

Counselling is a human relationship, and it can be really difficult to know whether you will have a good fit with a counsellor before you’ve had a chance to meet with them and get to know them a bit. Chances are, you will have a good fit because counsellors are trained to do everything they can to make having a good fit more likely with their clients, and to make sure that sessions are all about you - and not them. If you have a good fit with your counsellor, you will start to feel comfortable, curious, and open to sharing what’s going on in your life. You will feel heard, your identity and situation recognized, and you might feel a sense of relief or motivation after your sessions. Sometimes it takes a few sessions to get to this point as you get to know each other.
 

What Does It Feel like to Not Have the Right Fit?

This can feel like a lot of things. Maybe you find yourself apprehensive about sharing, or maybe you feel like the counsellor doesn’t recognize your worldview. Research has consistently shown that one of the most important reasons that counselling is either helpful or not helpful is due to the quality of the relationship between the client and their counsellor. In other words, how well the two fit. Essentially, if you don’t vibe with your counsellor, counselling is less likely to be effective. Instead of continuing booking with someone you aren’t vibing with, it’s important to know there are options and you shouldn’t let this deter you from counselling altogether.
 

Will It Hurt a Counsellor's Feelings If We Ask to Book with Someone Else?

We are all professionals, and we know that not every counsellor can be a good fit for every client. It is not your fault if you don’t have a good enough fit with your counsellor to make therapy work. And it’s not weird or wrong! What we want the most is for you to get the best help you can. So if that means transferring you to one of our many other wonderful counsellors, we are more than happy to help you do that. If you find yourself in this situation, the best thing to do is reach out to your counsellor to let them know - that way they can help you get connected to someone who might be a better fit. If that sounds too uncomfortable, you can connect with the staff member who did your initial consultation session at Health & Counselling, or email us at hcs_waitlist@sfu.ca or talk to an Access Case Manager at hcs_cm@sfu.ca.
 

Whether you’re seeking counselling from Health & Counselling or are speaking to a counsellor from My SSP or in the community, a similar process can be followed. If you are feeling hesitant and aren’t looking forward to your appointments, if you don’t feel comfortable sharing or if feel like you have to explain your worldview and identity - it’s worth exploring a different counsellor to ensure you are accessing the best support you can, because life as a student is hard, and a good counselling relationship has so many benefits.
 

SFU Health and Counselling Services
Registered Clinical Counsellor
David Lindskoog is a Registered Clinical Counsellor at Health & Counselling who used to work as a Career Advisor with Career Services. David is passionate about suicide prevention, social justice, career and professional development concerns, and the use of role-playing games in therapy. Check out his group: Dungeons & Worry Dragons. While you're here, check out Dave's Diary! It is an ongoing series of journal entries touching on various aspects related to careers and well-being. Want to hear Dave's thoughts on a particular topic?  Send him an email, and he'll do his best to include it in his next post!  
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Feb 11, 2022

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