Marriage Counseling is the process of talking about your relationship and learning more about each other. It’s a way of communicating with your partner in a safe and supportive environment. With the help of a trained professional, you can learn new ways to communicate and make your relationship stronger. Finding the right therapist can make all the difference in how much help you get from therapy and how much progress you make on your relationship problems.
So, how do you know if a marriage counselor is right for you? How do you know if they have experience working with couples like yours? Here are some tips for finding someone who will be able to meet your needs and help solve whatever challenges are keeping your marriage from being as happy and healthy as it could be:
1. Make sure your therapist is licensed
If you’re looking for a therapist, make sure that your chosen counselor is licensed by the state in which he or she practices. Licensing ensures that the counselor has met certain standards and can be held accountable for his or her actions.
To check whether a therapist is licensed:
- Check with your state’s licensing board (usually located at the state’s department of health). You’ll need to know which license category applies—marriage and family therapists are generally licensed as LMFTs, clinical social workers as LCSWs, etc.—and what type of license is required for your particular profession (clinical psychologist vs clinical social worker).
- Search for “[your state] mental health” on Google; then click on “Professional Licensing Information” under the government page heading up top. Search through this page until you find contact information for the appropriate licensing board in your area. Contact them directly via phone or email and ask if they have any records on hand regarding your prospective therapist; if so, ask them to send over those records ASAP so that you can proceed with confidence!
What if they don’t have any records on hand? This is where things get a little tricky. If the therapist you’re considering has never been licensed before, it’s unlikely that he or she will have any records on file with your state’s licensing board; however, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t trustworthy.
2. Ask about their experience and expertise
- Ask about their experience and expertise. A counselor who is a good fit will have worked with clients in similar situations and have specific training or experience dealing with the issue you’re struggling with.
- Ask about the types of therapy they offer. If you’re looking for a counselor who specializes in marriage counseling, ask whether they work exclusively with couples or also provide individual services. If it’s the former, ask what percentage of their practice is devoted to couples’ issues versus people seeking support individually; if it’s the latter, ask whether they take on more than one client at once (and how many).
- Ask about their approach to therapy. Some counselors are more directive than others—and some use different approaches depending on what type of client needs help (e.g., cognitive-behavioral therapy may be better suited for an anxiety disorder than interpersonal psychotherapy).
3. Make sure you feel comfortable with them
When choosing a counselor, it’s important to make sure that you feel comfortable with the person. If you’re not feeling it, try to put your discomfort aside and give them another chance. If this doesn’t work, then find someone else. There are many qualified marriage counselors out there who will be able to help you through your issues in a way that feels right for both of you.
One way to tell whether or not a marriage counselor is right for you is by talking things over with them during the first session or two of therapy. This will allow both parties time to decide whether or not they want the same thing out of counseling sessions and if they’re able to work together effectively as partners on therapy goals and tasks.
4. Think about where your counselor’s office is located
Location is one of the most important factors when choosing a marriage counselor. This should be discussed with your partner before making an appointment. How far away do they live from where you live? If they have to drive an hour or more each way, this can be very difficult to commit to on a regular basis, which may mean that therapy sessions will be sporadic and infrequent.
If you both work during typical business hours and want access during those hours, then it might also make sense for both of you to see a therapist in person rather than over Skype or another video chat service. If one or both individuals work in different cities but live within driving distance, consider whether it would make more sense for just one person’s needs (and finances) if they were to see an individual therapist while having their spouse come along for the ride as support during sessions.
5. If money is a problem, ask about fees and payment plans
If money is a problem, ask about fees and payment plans.
- Are there sliding scale fees? That means the counselor charges less if you can’t pay more.
- Can I make payments? Some counselors will accept monthly installments over time, or even offer credit card payments online.
- Will my insurance cover this? Many health insurance plans cover mental health services and marriage counseling, but it’s always good to double-check with your provider before committing to any long-term therapy program.
6. Finding the right therapist can make all the difference
Choosing a marriage counselor is not like choosing a plumber or a dentist, but it’s important to find the right therapist for your needs. You want to work with someone who suits both you and your spouse because anything less will hinder progress and cause frustration.
Your first step is to ask yourself some questions about what you need from therapy: Do you need help with communication? Are there issues related to sex or intimacy? Does either of you have alcohol or drug abuse problems that need attention? Is there infidelity in the relationship? These are all common reasons people seek counseling, so if any of these apply to your situation then it might be time for professional help.
Do you need help with communication? Are there issues related to sex or intimacy? Does either of you have alcohol or drug abuse problems that need attention? Is there infidelity in the relationship?
The most important thing to remember when choosing a marriage counselor is that you have a choice. There are many options out there; each one will work differently for different people.
Take the time to research your options before making a decision about who will be working with you and your spouse. Once you find the right person, make sure that they have good reviews from other couples who have been in similar situations as yours.
Remember: No matter what type of counseling works best for you, it should never be rushed into or taken lightly. Someone’s marriage is precious so take care of it!