Tips for Choosing a Good Marriage Therapist
It may seem daunting to find a good marital counselor, but that’s not entirely true. It can be as simple as asking for a referral from a friend, your doctor or even a priest. If you don’t like the idea of doing that, you can always count on the Internet. Of course, not everything you’ll find there is good for you, so stick to reputable sources all the time.
Below are tips to help you find the best therapist for you and your spouse:
Online directories can be a great place to start, but as mentioned, not everything you’ll find on the Internet 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 Credentials
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.
Interviewing the Therapist
When you meet your prospective therapist for the first time, don’t hesitate to ask questions. This is crucial if they were not personally recommended by someone you know. Besides their fees and scheduling options, know more about them by asking deeper questions.
How long have they been working with married couples, for example? Do they have any advanced training, and what in particular? What is the average length of one session? Is there something in your marriage history that could rule you out for marriage counseling (for example, substance abuse)?
If you feel it’s important for you to know the therapist’s marital status, it should be okay to ask. Some couples prefer a counselor who has experienced marriage or parenting.
Trusting Your Gut
Listen to your gut when assessing whether a therapist is right for you or not. Do you have an automatic connection on your first meeting? Did he talk sense? Did he sound like he completely understood what you’ve so far told him about your situation? How was the experience for your spouse? If one you feels uncomfortable or does not fully trust the therapist, find another one.
Finally, keep in mind that no matter how qualified or nice or sincere a therapist is, he cannot fix your marriage for you. His function is only to help, but the fixing is something that only you, the couple, can do.