Tips for Choosing a Good Marriage Therapist
Finding a good marriage therapist may seem daunting, but not really. It can be as easy as asking a friend, your GP or even your parish priest for a referral. If you don’t like the idea of doing that, you can always count on the Internet. Of course, not everything online is true or for you, so choose your sources well.
Below are tips to help you find the best therapist for you and your spouse:
Online directories are a good place to start looking, but as we mentioned earlier, not all sources on the Internet are 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 must have a license, but the specifics can be different, depending on the state where they practice. In general, marital therapists have to be at least one of the following: a psychologist (Ph.D.or PsyD), a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) or a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC). 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.
The First Meeting
When meeting your potential therapist for the first time, don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is crucial if they were not personally recommended by someone you know. Beyond the fees and availability issues, go deeper with your questions.
How long have they been working with married couples, for example? What advanced training do they have, if any? How long is a typical session? 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. Some couples feel more comfortable with a counselor who has actually experienced being married or having kids.
Trusting Your Gut
When gauging whether or not a counselor is good for you, trust your gut. Did you feel some kind of connection the first time you met? Was he talking sense? Did it seem like he had a good grasp of what you’ve so far told him regarding your marriage? How was the experience for your spouse? If one you feels uncomfortable or does not fully trust the therapist, find another one.
Finally, remember that no matter how well-reviewed a therapist is, he can never ever fix your marriage for you. He is only there to help, and the fixing will have to be done by you, the couple.