It can be a struggle for many people to take that very first step to get counseling. It’s not easy to ask for help, especially when we’re dealing with things that feel very personal to us.

Are you feeling that hesitation to ask for help?

The following wise advice and counsel will provide helpful guidance as you consider next steps in getting counseling.

Counseling is a relational, interactive process established and maintained on the basis of trust. Honest and open dialogue between a counselor and a counselee is one of the most important components of building trust.

If you are unable to establish this foundation early on, so that you are confident the counselor will be wise, biblical, loving, and faithful in your interaction, you may want to look elsewhere.

Here are eight suggested questions to ask your prospective counselor or therapist. You could ask these questions in person, or copy and paste these questions into an email that you send to the prospective counselor or therapist.

QUESTION #1: How would you describe your approach to counseling/therapy?
How do you understand people’s problems? How do you help them grow and change through counseling? Please describe the process.

QUESTION #2: What books or resources do you recommend on a regular basis?
What books have most influenced your approach to counseling?

QUESTION #3: Are you a Christian?
How does your faith affect your view and practice of counseling?

QUESTION #4: Do you bring Christian truth into your counseling practice?
How? What role does the Bible play?

QUESTION #5: Do you pray with those you counsel?

QUESTION #6: Do you attend church?
If so, where? How long have you attended there?

QUESTION #7: What is your educational and professional background?
What role does it play?

QUESTION #8: Are you married? Do you have children?
How does your marriage and family situation affect how you counsel people?

If you’re seeking marriage counseling or couples counseling, the life experience of your counselor is a major consideration.

The answers you receive to these questions should help you as you take further steps to find someone who can help. Remember, you’re actually meeting with a “person,” not just a professional. How this person views life and how this person cares for others will most certainly affect your counseling relationship. We trust you’ll be able to find someone to help you.

This page draws from material developed by CCEF’s David Powlison and Family Life of Little Rock, AR.