Qualities of a good counsellor:

1. Good interpersonal skills. The counsellor shows warmth, acceptance and empathy. Focussing on your issues not their own. A good therapist shows interest in you, your life and how you feel. They communicate in a language that you understand.

2. A trustworthy counsellor. You should feel you can build up a good working relationship. Your counsellor will keep all your information confidential (except in exceptional circumstances in which they believe you are at a risk of self harm, harming someone else or committing a serious crime. This should be explained at the beginning of therapy).

3. Establishing a good therapeutic alliance with you. You should feel your values and goals are listened to. You should feel that you are supported and working together.

4. Be able to explain your symptoms to you in a way you can understand, and be flexible if your symptoms or circumstances change. You should be able to explore and understand the possible causes of your symptoms.

5. Commitment to an acceptable treatment plan. You should be assessed and a treatment plan agreed. You should be able to understand the treatment plan and the therapist’s way of working, their interventions or suggestions.

6. Communication of confidence about the course of therapy. You should feel the therapy is helpful and progressive. You should feel secure that the therapist is confident in their professionalism.


Adapted from Susan Krauss Whitbourne, PhD 2011 Norcross, J.C. (Ed). (2011) Psychotherapy relationships that work. New York: Oxford University Press