It's one thing to put your trust in a professional and another thing entirely to do so blindly and without conducting the proper research beforehand. Not all therapists carry the same level of experience or have the same areas of expertise, which is great as it allows for a variety of different therapeutic experiences for those who utilize the services offered by counselors. Equally, not all patients have the same preference in techniques and counselor personality. Counselors are people too, and you will need to test several out before you find the right fit for you. (After all, your counseling is going to be much more effective if you have a strong connection and relationship with your therapist.) You should always do proper research before selecting a relationship counselor and make sure that you don't settle on one that may not be right for you so that you have the best chance at success in your marriage and healing journey. If you are currently seeking out the services of a marriage counselor, the article below will help give you tips on how you can find the best marriage counselor for you.
Not everyone knows what kind of research they need to do when they are looking for a marriage counselor or what questions they should be asking themselves as they start this journey. If you are in your first steps of this process, here are some valuable tips that will make sure that your search is easy and yields results.
Remember, It's Not Just For You
When looking for a marriage counselor, you should make sure that you are taking your spouse's preferences into consideration as well. When we are looking around for our therapist, we naturally seek out one that meets our own needs and desires but marriage is a joint union, and it can be easy to forget this fact during the process (especially if there are signs of trouble brewing in the relationship such as a lack of thoughtfulness or consideration). This is one of the reasons why choosing a couples counselor can be so difficult. You and your spouse may often have different needs and preferences that need to be compromised upon as you go through counselors you find in your area or online. If you can, take some time to sit down with your spouse and to make a list of what you each want and need. With those characteristics, you can then figure out which counselors will work best for both of you to get the most out of the experience.
Know Your Goal
People go to marriage counselors for various reasons. The majority of people tend to go to counseling to resolve issues that have become chronic, to 'save' a marriage, or to determine whether their marriage is one that should be saved. Many people will also seek out a marriage counselor if their partner wants a divorce as they want to try to stop the divorce from happening. Whatever your ultimate goal is, you want to find a counselor who can help you realize that goal and who have proven that they can provide the tools necessary for both you and your partner to achieve success. With this in mind, it is important to note that there is a difference between joint goals and unified goals. While a counselor can certainly help you with certain personal goals that may be able to improve a marriage, they cannot change your partner or manifest a goal that isn't desired by both individuals within a relationship. Make sure to clarify all the goals of counseling with your partner before you go into therapy with each other.
Looks can be deceiving, and some counseling services may appear to be fantastic online or on paper while the truth is that you receive little to no help when you begin hiring a said therapist. It is important to ask people you know and trust what their experience was with a particular counselor or counseling service before setting up an initial appointment with a therapist you would like to meet with. If you can, it is best to receive reviews or speak with someone who has already visited a specific therapist you are interested in since they will be able to give you detailed advice about the counselor's practices and efficacy. Even bad experiences can be helpful as they will let you know which counselors to absolutely avoid or which counselors may not be suited for your particular needs.
If you don't know anyone who has used a marriage counselor, you can also take a look at online reviews. While online reviews may not provide you with as much as a comprehensive overview of what worked and what didn't or give you a clear picture as to how effective the counselor is, you can look for patterns in multiple reviews that will give you a hint about the overall success rate of that therapist.
Find Out Whether The Counselor Has Beliefs That Conflict With Yours
It is important to be objective when you are a therapist, but not every therapist holds this belief. Some therapists may have a certain religion that dictates their advice and how they deal with patients. It is important that you know about these beliefs before seeking out the help of a counselor due to the negative impact that these beliefs could have on the counseling itself. For example, let's imagine that a homosexual couple is seeking out marriage counseling services. If they choose to seek the help of a primarily Christian therapist, the advice they receive is not going to be helpful and may even create conflict between the two parties. Only seek out the help of therapists who hold no beliefs that interfere with their practice or who hold similar beliefs to you and your partner.
Look For One With The Proper Credentials And Work Experience
Believe it or not, there are ways that some therapists can state that they offer couple's counseling without needing the proper experience to do so. If you end up choosing a counselor that does not have the right knowledge or cannot apply it practically, you may end up further harming the relationship and causing irreparable damage. One of the most important things you can do when you are looking for a marriage counselor is to look through their credentials and work experience. If you have conducted an extensive search and have managed to find ones that have both the right credentials and have had a fair amount of time or quite a bit of experience with working with married couples (successfully), this counselor is going to be a better choice for you than one that doesn't list their credentials or isn't able to produce any proof of their success. The good news is that this process is rather easy as there are databases online that can help you to comb through therapists until you find one that meets these important requirements.
Make Sure To Outline Interview Questions That You Can Ask Online, Over The Phone, Or In-Person
Finding a therapist is like hiring an employee. You are going to be using them for a long period and you, want to make sure that they are going to be able to do the job that you are bringing them on for, especially if there are other potential candidates lined up for you. As such, it is a good idea to have questions that you can ask them before you hold a meeting with them so that you can better determine if they may be a right fit and if they could help both you and your partner. Some of these may include…
While this is by no means a comprehensive list, the basic idea of creating this list is to help you weed out potential therapists from therapists that you do not want to move forward with. If you are not satisfied with their answers, you can most likely check them off of your list and move onto the next one until you have a solid list of counselors that you would like to move forward with and try until you find the right fit for you and your spouse.
Find Out Your Preferred Counselor's Availability And Whether Or Not It Works With Your Schedule
The perfect marriage counselor isn't going to be of much help if you and your spouse can't meet with them at a convenient time that works best for both of you. Schedules can be very hectic during the marriage, especially if you have children, and having to stress about getting to counseling sessions can only add to existing problems within the marriage. Before you begin settling on one therapist, make sure to find out when your marriage counselor operates and what their current availability looks like. You may even want to consider online marriage counseling if that works better for your schedule as you can always log on for online sessions whenever you need them. Reputable online counselors have the same training and experience as local counselors, and this is an additional point to take into consideration during your journey.
Overall, the search for a therapist can be quite extensive, but it is necessary if you are seeking to resolve conflicts within your marriage and thrive as a couple. If marriage counseling is in the cards, utilize the helpful tips above to make sure that you are successful in choosing the right counselor for you so that you can maximize the benefits that marriage counseling has to offer!