Perhaps you and your partner are having major issues in your marriage, or maybe the two of you just want to work on your communication skills. In either case, it might be advisable to reach out to a marriage counselor for help. Many people begin looking for a counselor via an online search, and the results all show offers of support, understanding, and help. They all seem sincere, so how do you choose a marriage counselor that is right for you and your spouse?
Choosing a marriage counselor is a big decision. This is a person with whom you will discuss sensitive issues, and you will likely feel vulnerable, so it’s important you feel comfortable with that person. Many couples wait too long to begin counseling. For many, it is a last resort before filing for divorce. It doesn’t matter if your problems are big or small; you need a marriage counselor who is competent and works in the best interest of both parties.
Here are four tips to help you find the right marriage counselor for you:
Choose an actual marriage counselor. There are many different types of mental health professionals, but only marriage and family counselors have special education, training, and experience in helping couples. Any counselor can offer marriage advice, even if their background is in social work or counseling individuals, or even if their experience was as a school psychologist. Those without specialized training often try to use individual therapy techniques or try to diagnose one of the partners as being “the problem” instead of helping the couple as a team.
Look for a counselor who uses proven methods. Marriage counselors can use any of a large number of processes. However, research shows some programs work better than others, such as emotionally focused couples therapy and the Gottman method. Don’t be afraid to ask counselors questions about their approaches, to help make sure you find the right one for you and your spouse.
Talk to the counselors you are considering. Online reviews don’t necessarily give you a good idea of who a particular counselor is. Investigate a couple of practices that you feel may be a good fit for you and your partner. Begin by calling and asking to speak with the person you are considering to hiring as your marriage counselor. Ask how many years the person has been a counselor, what credentials they have, if they help clients avoid some of the emotional hazards of marital adjustment and complete the program successfully, and whether they have any strategies to solve the clients’ marital problems. As the conversation continues, you may think of other questions to ask.
Consider Cost. Insurance usually doesn’t pay for marriage counseling unless the counselor finds you or your partner suffering from a mental health issue. In many cases, you will need to pay for therapy out of pocket. Rates for marriage counseling can range from $75 to $500 a session. This is why it is important to consider the cost, length, and frequency of the sessions. Make sure you choose a counselor that fits your budget, as marriage counseling is not often short term.
Choosing a counselor can be intimidating, but following these four steps can make the process much easier for you and your partner. Marriage counseling could mean the difference between getting a divorce and having a happy ending, so it is important to consider carefully whom you trust to help you and your partner find happiness once again.
If you have any questions call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at (201)845-7400.