How to Find the Right Marriage Counselor for Your Relationship
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Are you interested in marriage counseling? There are many reasons why people opt to see a marriage counselor, whether they’d like to prepare for marriage or they want to learn how to communicate with one another better.
Either way, not all marriage counselors have the experience or expertise you might need, so it’s important to find the right licensed therapist for your relationship’s needs. But how does one choose a good marriage counselor? What do you look for in a marriage counselor, and where do you begin?
Keep reading to learn our top tips for finding a qualified marriage counselor who suits your marriage’s needs.
1. Look for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists or Qualified Family Marriage Counselors
Above all else, you’ll want to find a qualified marriage therapist. To do this, look for a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT). LMFTs who have undergone a Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE)-accredited MFT graduate program have a degree in marriage and family counseling.
MFTs also acquire hundreds of supervised hours counseling married couples and families before they graduate. After graduation, MFT graduates must accrue thousands of clinical hours under the supervision of an experienced LMFT before they can qualify for licensure. You and your spouse or family members can rest assured you’ll be in qualified hands with an LMFT.
Even if your preferred counselor isn’t an LMFT, that’s okay — just be sure to double-check their credentials, experience level and areas of expertise to ascertain whether they’re a good fit.
2. Double-Check That the Therapist Will Prioritize Your Marriage’s Health and Success
Next to finding a qualified therapist, you’ll want to determine whether the therapist will prioritize your marriage’s health and success — especially if saving a struggling marriage is the primary reason you’re seeking counseling.
Some therapists prioritize the pursuit of personal growth. And while that’s excellent on its own, it might not work in your marriage’s favor if your partner feels unhappy and is not as enthusiastic about saving the union as you.
However, other therapists will encourage couples to seek happiness within the marriage and encourage commitment as long as there are no dangerous or abusive patterns harming each partner’s health.
To gauge whether a therapist is a good fit, be sure to ask them what couples therapy style they use and whether they’ll prioritize individual growth or marital success.
3. Choose a Therapist With the Qualities You Are Looking for in a Professional Counselor
Google is great for finding pizza places near you, but not so when discovering a qualified therapist good for you and your partner. Avoid hiring a therapist just because they have a professional-looking website and a doctorate in psychology or provide evening and weekend appointments.
The above qualities are good, but they alone shouldn’t persuade you that the counselor is the right match. Though it can be time-consuming to find and vet therapists, it’s worth it, as the right therapist will:
- Put you and your partner at ease.
- Show compassion and avoid “taking sides.”
- Be available to chat by phone, text, email or video call.
- Have experience in the issues you are facing.
- Charge an affordable fee.
- Share your religious beliefs.
- Offer individual counseling.
- Be licensed and experienced.
Within the list above, choose the most important qualities to you and your partner. Jot these down and use them to ask the right questions when screening potential therapists.
Use These Tips to Find a Suitable Marriage Counselor
To recap, here are some questions you should ask any candidate marriage counselor:
- What are your credentials?
- How long have you been in practice?
- At what point do you believe divorce is necessary?
- Do you share our religious beliefs?
- Do you also provide individual counseling?
Remember, finding your perfect therapist match might take some time. However, choosing the right counselor is crucial for several reasons — the most important being your marriage’s health and success. Ultimately, you’ll be glad you took extra time to find the right therapist for your needs as a couple.