Research Describes 14 Qualities and Actions of an Effective Counselor (Part 3 of 2)

This is part 3 in a series of posts originally intended to be a two-part pageturner. You can check out part 1 here and part 2 here.


counselor with depressed manIt’s the middle of January, which is the most common month that people seek out counseling. Of course, many factors go into choosing a therapist—location, specialty, a perception that he or she can help with your concerns, fees and insurance, and so on.


It’s also been my guess in this series that you also are wondering how in the world to pick an effective counselor. There are online reviews but only sometimes, and therapist websites can only give us clues about a counselor’s competence.


It’s been my goal to help you pick a good counselor, one that you can know with a little more clarity if the help you’re getting is worth your time and investment. Ultimately, I do feel that there’s a ineffable quality of “fit” between a counselor and a client that makes therapy work, and that’s hard to write about.

Research Describes 14 Qualities and Actions of an Effective Counselor (Part 2 of 2)

woman in therapyIn case you missed it, in my last post I summarized some findings from the American Psychological Association about the characteristics of an effective counselor. You can check out the APA’s own write-up of the research here. According to the APA, an effective counselor has 14 key qualities that contribute to successful treatment. This time of year, when a lot of people are looking for counseling, these are great things to keep in mind when looking for help.


Of course, counseling seems simple on the face of it, but there’s actually a lot going on in your counselor’s mind in session, not to mention the ton of stuff going on in the relationship between you and your counselor. All that to say, great outcomes are the product of a host of variables in counseling, I don’t think it’s too far of a stretch to say that these therapist qualities make successful treatment more likely. 

Research Describes 14 Qualities and Actions of an Effective Counselor (Part 1 of 2)

Looking for a therapist in the New Year? You’re not alone. In fact, January tends to be the most popular month of the year for seeking counseling. Why? It’s hard to say, really, but there are probably several reasons:

  1. The holidays are over. With New Year’s, it’s time for a change.
  2. Being with family around the holidays can encourage people to want better relationships and emotional wellbeing.
  3. There’s a good stretch of time before summer, so people usually are going to be able to go to therapy for some time before traveling again.


counselor with clientWhatever the reason, if you’re looking for counseling right now, it’s a perfect time to think about the qualities you want in your counselor. More specifically, you probably want to know more about those characteristics of a good counselor, and what a good counselor does. 

4 Tips for Safe Drinking

Happy holidays, everyone! Drinking around the holidays can be enjoyable, but if you’ve had some problems with alcohol in the past (like me), this time of year can be challenging. If you’re thinking about making some changes to how you drink or just want to drink more intentionally, here are four tips for safe drinking to keep mind. Well, okay, they’re not so much “tips” on their own as aspects of drinking to consider when planning to drink.

How to Choose a Sex Addiction Therapist

If you think you might be struggling with sex or pornography addiction, seeking out a therapist is a wonderful way to care for yourself. Partnering with a therapist means enlisting the help of an experienced guide to help you get to where you want to go. However, the sheer number of therapists in your area often makes the choice more than a little overwhelming. So how can you determine which therapist is the right one for you?


I often meet with individuals in during free consultations who are looking for the right fit. Choosing a therapist is a highly personal decision that should be made with a great deal of thought and consideration.


So how might you determine who is a good fit for you?

The Big Danger Christian Sex Addicts in Recovery Need to Watch Out For

Let me tell you a story about a man named Joe.


(Joe isn’t a real person. I made him up so I could tell you this entirely fictional story about him. But in a way, Joe is real enough, as you’ll see in a moment.)


Joe seems like a normal guy. He’s well-liked by his coworkers. He loves his wife and children. He hosts backyard barbecues in the summer on weekends for friends and family. His faith is important to him and he’s a respected leader in his church.


By all appearances, he’s an outstanding guy.


But Joe has a secret.

3 Things Your Therapist Must Do in Couples Therapy

I recently submitted my first response to Help a Reporter Out (HARO). If you don’t know what HARO is, it’s a subscription service that connects inquiring journalists doing research for stories to experts hungry to provide them with a few good quotes (and get some publicity in the process).


Now, chances are I’m not going to get picked because these reporters get a lot of responses. So in the offchance I don’t get instantly famous, I thought I’d share my thoughts with you. Here’s the response in its entirety.

Is Couples Counseling the Right Treatment for Sex Addiction?

If you’re reading this, chances are that your relationship is in crisis. Maybe you’ve probably discovered your partner’s pornography stash, an affair, his texts with a prostitute, or his lurid emails with women (or men) he’s met online. Perhaps you found something else entirely, or your partner has told you about it because he got caught.

5 Reasons to Do Premarital Counseling

Wedding season is right around the corner, and many couples are busy getting ready for one of the most joyous days of their lives. All too often, however, in the hustle and bustle of preparing for their wedding, a couple may spend too little time preparing for their marriage. Premarital counseling—whether meeting individually with a therapist or participating in a premarital workshop—can help the couple strengthen their relationship to ready for a lifetime of love and commitment. If you’re getting married (or know someone who is), why consider premarital counseling?

Minding the Present Moment

Happy Labor Day, everyone! For most of us, a holiday like this one is a wonderful chance to be with family and friends, but I wonder how often we pause to truly live such moments. If the pandemic of iPhone-induced poor posture is any indication, many of us find minding the present moment challenging sometimes. We find ways of detaching ourselves from our thoughts, feelings, and experiences—our subjectivity, often without even knowing it. We are sometimes unwitting accomplices in our own lives passing us by, which is unfortunate because being aware of one’s own subjectivity is crucial to emotional well-being. How can we live more fully, then, by minding the present moment?