How To Find A Good Marriage Counselor For You

Updated August 9, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

It can be 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 may carry the same level of experience or have the same areas of expertise, which can be great as it often allows for a variety of different therapeutic experiences. Counselors are people too, and you may need to test out several before you find the right fit. After all, your counseling is likely going to be much more effective if you have a strong connection and relationship with your therapist. It can be helpful to do proper research before selecting a relationship counselor so that you have the best chance at success in your marriage and healing journey. You may be able to find a marriage counselor that fits your needs and preferences on an online therapy platform or in your local area.

How To Find A Good Marriage Counselor

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Find A Licensed And Experienced Marriage Counselor Online.

Not everyone may know 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 the first steps of this process, here are some valuable tips that can ensure your search is easy and yields results.

Remember, Counseling Is Not Just For You

When looking for a marriage counselor, you should generally make sure that you are taking your spouse's preferences into consideration as well. When we are looking around for an individual therapist, we tend to naturally seek out one that meets our own needs and desires. However, marriage is normally 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 often one of the reasons why choosing a couples counselor can be so difficult. You and your spouse may have different needs and preferences that require compromise 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 make a list of what you each want and need. With those characteristics in mind, you may then figure out how to find a couples counselor that will help both of you get the most out of the experience.

Know Your Goal

People often go to marriage counselors for various reasons. Most people 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 also seek out a marriage counselor if their partner wants a divorce, and they want to try to stop the divorce from happening. Whatever your ultimate goal is, you generally want to find a counselor who can help you achieve that goal and who can provide the tools necessary for you and your partner to find success. With this in mind, it can be important to note that there is typically 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 normally change your partner or manifest a goal that isn't desired by both individuals within a relationship. It can be beneficial to clarify the goals of counseling with your partner before you go into therapy with each other.

Ask Around

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Looks can be deceiving, and some counseling services may appear to be fantastic online or on paper, while the truth may be that you receive little to no help when you begin working with a particular therapist. It can be 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 usually best to receive reviews or speak with someone who has already visited a specific therapist you are interested in since they will likely be able to give you detailed advice about the counselor's practices and efficacy. Even bad experiences can be helpful as they may 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 look at online reviews. While online reviews may not provide you with as comprehensive an overview or give you a clear picture as to how effective the counselor is, you can look for patterns in multiple reviews that may give you a hint about the overall expertise of that therapist.

Look Into Each Professional’s Beliefs

It is generally important to be objective when you are a therapist, but not every therapist may hold this belief. Some therapists may have a certain religion that can dictate their advice and how they communicate with patients. It can be helpful to work with a counselor who has beliefs that align with your own. 

Investigate Credentials And Work Experience

There can be ways for some therapists to state that they offer couples counseling without having 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 your relationship. One of the most important things you can do when you are looking for a marriage counselor may be to look through their credentials and work experience. If you have conducted an extensive search and have managed to find professionals with the right credentials and quite a bit of experience working with married couples successfully, this counselor is generally going to be a better choice for you than one that doesn't list their credentials or isn't able to produce proof of their success. 

Outline Interview Questions 

Finding a therapist can be similar to hiring an employee. You are generally going to be working with them for a period of time, and you’ll typically want to ensure hey are going to be able to do the job that you are bringing them on for, especially if there are other potential candidates. As such, it can be a good idea to have questions to ask them before you hold a meeting with them so you can better determine if they may be they right fit for you and your partner. Some of these questions may include the following:

  • What types of couples have you worked with, and have you been able to help couples resolve issues similar to ours?
  • What therapeutic strategies do you use, how successful are they, and how would you apply these or others to our situation?
  • What type of mental health professional are you, and how have you leveraged your background to find success?
  • What should we expect from our therapy sessions, and what are some pieces of advice that you may have for me and my spouse before we begin therapy?
  • What forms of payment do you accept, and (if necessary or applicable to you and your spouse) do you offer any discounted payment options that we can use?

While this is by no means a comprehensive list, the basic idea of creating this list is generally 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 your list and move on to 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.

Check To See If Their Availability Aligns With Your Schedule

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Find A Licensed And Experienced Marriage Counselor Online.

The perfect marriage counselor may not be of much help if you and your spouse can't meet with them at a convenient time. Schedules can be very hectic, especially if you have children, and stressing about getting to counseling sessions may only add to existing problems within the marriage. Before you settle on one therapist, you might find out 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 usually schedule online sessions at times outside of typical office hours and attend them from home. Reputable online counselors typically have the same training and experience as local counselors, and this may be an additional point to take into consideration during your journey.

As this study explains, the efficacy of online couples therapy is generally the same as the efficacy of in-person couples therapy. Either option can be a valid and beneficial way to work on your relationship and resolve any issues you may be experiencing.

Takeaway

Finding a good marriage counselor doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you do your research. It can be helpful to consider the wants and needs of both yourself and your spouse, to determine your counseling goals ahead of time, and to ask around for recommendations and check out reviews. Other steps can include investigating professionals’ credentials and experience, asking them helpful interview questions, and determining whether their availability aligns with your schedule. Another way to simplify the process of finding a suitable marriage counselor may be to join an online therapy platform, where you can complete a brief questionnaire and quickly be matched to a suitable professional.

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