Find a good marriage counselor
Society sometimes places a negative connotation on the idea of marriage counseling believing that there are problems that must be fixed.
This isn’t always the case.
In fact counselors can also work to prevent problems, help couples to work through difficult situations such as grief and strengthen the bond between the partners.
Many experts today recommend that couples see a counselor once a year, like they would see their medical doctor for an annual check up. At these times the counselor would see each member of the couple individually and then a session with the two together. This isn’t an intimate scrutiny of every aspect of their lives but rather an overall evaluation of the relationship and the satisfaction of both partners.
To find a good marriage counselor involves several steps.
Marriage counselors come in all shapes and sizes. They can be social workers with advanced degrees in counseling, psychologists, psychiatrists or pastors who specialize in marital relationships. These counselors operate out of churches, clinics and private practice. Finding a counselor isn’t usually the problem, it is finding one that matches the needs and personalities of the partners involved.
The cost of the marriage counselor sessions can range from free to $200.00 per hour depending upon the place the counselor operates, whether there is a sliding scale fee, if they take insurance and the geographical area of the professional. Insurance companies don’t usually cover marriage counseling unless one of the two has a medical problem such as Lupus or cancer, for which the couple requires supportive counseling.
Fortunately, unless the couple is seeking counseling to avoid a divorce, these sessions are usually brief and require only a few times before being released.
To find a good marriage counselor the best way to start is through a referral. Often you can ask your primary care doctor or you can speak to other couples who have gone through counseling. Once you start looking and talking to other couples about marriage counseling you’ll be surprised at the number who have sought the care and support of a counselor.
Once you have a referral don’t stop there!
Call for your first appointment and go together. Spend the first hour getting to know the therapist. Afterward honestly discuss if this is someone you both feel comfortable speaking with and opening up to.
If one or the other partner has concerns or issues about speaking with a counselor then it might be that the other partner must make the decision. Sometimes one of the couple may believe that counseling isn’t necessary and exhibit animosity and anger toward the therapist. At this point there won’t be a therapist who will work for this partner. It will be up to the other to pick the therapist they feel will work well with both of you.
A good marriage counselor doesn’t take sides with one or the other partner, they don’t make comments that make either uncomfortable. They do point out habits and issues that may be difficult to discuss but they also help the couple to work through those issues to a successful end.
Once you find a good marriage counselor keep their contact information!
Then scheduling a ‘check-up’ once or twice a year as needed doesn’t involve the long drawn out process of interviewing a therapist again.
Marriage Builders: How to Find a Good Marriage Counselor
GoodTherapy: Couples and Marriage Counseling
PsychologyToday: How to Choose a Good Marital Therapist
Hitched: 7 Tips to Finding the Right Marriage Counselor
Center for Marriage: How to Choose a Marriage Counselor
National Institute of Marriage: How Do You Find a good Marriage Counselor