When both members of a couple recognize that there are problems in the relationship and they are willing to examine the issues and work together towards building a stronger bond, a marriage counselor is the person best suited to assist them. And we stress, BOTH members recognize that there’s a problem. Not just one…Here’s how to go about finding the right counselor for you:
Seek a referral from people you know and trust. Sometimes, people are unwilling to admit that they have sought help in their marriage and therefore are reluctant to give you the information you need. In that instance, do an online search, reach out to a medical professional (Doctors always have lists), even a lawyer might be able to help.
Once you have some names, you are ready to begin to find the person best suited to you and your partner. The process begins with a phone call. Most marriage counselors are willing to discuss their approach, cost and availability over the phone at no cost to you. Determine what their credentials are, how long they have been in practice and whether or not they believe they are competent to address your particular need. You can also determine whether or not you have insurance coverage for their services or will have to pay out of pocket. Tell them a little about your situation and see how they respond — you may get an initial feeling whether they will be good or not.
Most marriage counselors will begin by seeing the couple together. Some may choose to first speak to each member of the couple alone. Either way, both partners must feel comfortable with the counselor in order for the therapy to work. If either partner is not in agreement, it is best to move on and seek another counselor that both parties like.
While a marriage counselor is competent at dealing with most relationship issues, if you and your partner are dealing with a specific issue such as addiction or abuse, you may prefer to seek out a marriage counselor that is a specialist in the field. This would be another good thing to bring up in an initial phone call too.
Decide together with the marriage counselor whether there will be “homework,” whether conversations begun in the counselor’s office will be continued at home or if it is best to leave the difficult issues alone except during treatment time. The goal is to work together with the help of the marriage counselor to create a happier, more satisfying relationship for both partners.
Things to Ask
Ask the counselor how you can begin to practice the habits you’re taught in the home, so you don’t begin to depend on seeing a counselor. In the end, your goal should be to have a healthy relationship all the time, not just when you’re going to see the therapist. Make a commitment with your partner to go as long as you both feel is needed to help sustain the two of you.