Should You Google Your Therapist?
The use of the internet to find most things we need, be it shopping for shoes, bookings holiday or finding a dentist, doctor or therapist, is very much an integral part of life now. But when looking for a therapist how far should our search go?
Finding the right therapist for you is very important. Research shows that being comfortable with your counsellor is vital to making the necessary changes to your life. Of course one could book a number of therapists and have an introductory session with each of them and then decide who to continue working with. But sites like welldoing.org will provide you with key professional information about your therapist and so reduce the need to have face to face session with a number of counsellors.
For example you may want a therapist with a specific type of training such as one who uses CBT. Or you may want a male or female counsellor. Perhaps you feel that seeing someone close to work or home will make it easier and so you are likely to continue therapy even if you find it challenging. All this sort of information is available on the directory type sites. And so you find the therapists that seems to best suit you. You visit them and you decide that you could work well with them. But then maybe you want even more information about them. Maybe before you make that final commitment. Or does your curiosity get the better of you? After all if you search Facebook or Twitter you might be able to get to know your therapist even better.
On one side of the argument is that if the therapist puts personal information out that is accessible then they aren’t worried that you know more about them so that’s OK. On the other hand have you gone to the counsellor to find a friend (and sometimes the client-therapist relationship can feel quite like a friendship) or a professional who can help you?
Counsellors are trained to be neutral, non-judgmental, to be supportive but at the same time mirror back to you your thoughts and feelings. Their personal lives shouldn't be part of the equation. And it is the therapist’s responsibility to ensure that professional and personal lives don’t clash. Not that they are being secretive but because they need to be neutral so that you get the maximum benefit.
So resist the temptation to search for personal information on your therapist online. Hopefully, you will be wasting your time because your counsellor has been careful with what they disclose. Directories such as welldoing.org, listing on the professional bodies websites such as the BACP and the therapist’s own website (if they have one, some don’t) should give you the information you need to make the right choice. It can be hard to resist carrying out further searches but remember what is important is how well you feel your counsellor is supporting you and helping you to change. And if you do feel curious maybe that is something you should explore with your therapist?