How to Find a Marriage Counselor
Searching for a good marital therapist may sound intimidating, but not exactly. It can be as simple as asking for a referral from a friend, your doctor or even a priest. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, there’s always the Internet. Of course, not everything on the web is right for you or even true, so stick to reputable sources of information.
When looking for a marital counselor, here are tips you can consider:
Online directories are a good starting point, but like we said earlier, not everything out here is trustworthy. The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) and the National Registry of Marriage-Friendly Therapists (NRMFT) are two trusted marital counselor directories you can use.
The Right Qualifications
All therapists need a license, although the specific regulations may differ from one state to another. Generally speaking, a marital therapist must be a a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), a psychologist (Ph.D.or PsyD), a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC), or a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Most importantly, keep in mind that not all couples counselors are qualified to provide marriage counseling, because marriage issues are obviously unique from those that unmarried couples deal with.
Meeting the Therapist
When you meet your prospective therapist for the first time, don’t hesitate to ask questions. This can be crucial if you’re seeing them without a personal referral. Besides their fees and scheduling options, know more about them by asking deeper questions.
For instance, how long have they been practicing as a marriage therapist? What advanced training do they have, if any? How long does a session usually last? Is there something that might make marriage therapy inapplicable to you and your spouse (for example, a history of drug addiction or domestic violence)?
If you feel it’s important for you to know the therapist’s marital status, it should be okay to ask. You may feel more at ease with someone who is actually married and has kids.
Trusting Your Intuition
Listen to your gut when assessing whether a therapist is right for you or not. Did you feel some kind of connection the first time you met? Did he talk sense? Did he sound like he completely understood what you’ve so far told him about your situation? What does your spouse think of him? If any of you has doubts on the therapist’s abilities or is just plain uncomfortable with him, go look for another one.
Lastly, remember that even the most qualified, experienced and beloved therapist will not be able to fix your marriage for you. He is only there to help, and the fixing will have to be done by you, the couple.