How to Find A Good Marriage Counselor for A Relationship Tune-Up
If your marriage is struggling, don’t let the idea of seeking marriage counseling embarrass you.
And if your marriage isn’t struggling and you think an article on marriage counseling doesn’t apply to you, keep reading.
Marriage counseling is an act of love that offers hope and security.
Sometimes society views marriage counseling in a negative light – that your marriage must really be on the rocks or something must be wrong with you if you need counseling.
But that’s not always the case.
Marriage Counseling Prevents Problems Before They Start
In fact, did you know that marriage counseling can be used to prevent problems?
Counseling can help a couple hone their communication skills, and help them work through difficult situations like grief. Counseling can be beneficial to a couple even when their marriage is doing well.
These days, many marriage professionals recommend couples see a counselor once a year for an annual check-up – sort of like an annual physical with your doctor.
In this scenario, the counselor meets with each spouse individually, and then in one or two sessions together.
The purpose is to give an overall evaluation of the relationship and satisfaction of each spouse.Finding a Good Counselor
Finding a Good Marriage Counselor
Finding a good marriage counselor involves several steps. Plus, there are many different kinds of counselors.
There are social workers with advanced degrees in counseling, psychologists, psychiatrists or pastors who specialize in marital relationships; these counselors operate out of churches, clinics and private practice.
Finding a counselor isn’t the challenge…finding one that matches your needs, personalities, and values can be, which is why you have to “shop” around.
Another consideration is cost. Sessions can range from free to $200 an hour depending upon the place the counselor operates, whether there’s a sliding scale fee, or if they take insurance; the geographical area of the professional is a factor, too.
Insurance companies don’t usually cover marriage counseling unless one of the spouse’s has a medical problem such as Lupus or cancer, for which the couple requires supportive counseling.
Fortunately, unless the couple is seeking counseling to avoid a divorce, not many sessions are required, which is important if cost is a major concern.
Referrals are the best way to find a good marriage counselor. Ask your primary care doctor for their recommendation, or ask other couples who’ve gone through counseling. Once you start asking around, you’ll be surprised at how many couples have seen a counselor.
Deciding On A Counselor
It’s a good idea to make a list of two or three counselors that you think would make good possibilities. Choose one and schedule your first appointment; go together with your spouse.
Here’s the purpose of your first counseling session from your point of view: Spend the first hour getting to know the therapist. Afterwards, honestly discuss if this is someone you both feel comfortable speaking with and opening up to.
Does this counselor share your values? Do they support marriage or are they quick to suggest divorce? Do they seem to genuinely care and have the skills you need? Are they a good match?
If you or your partner have concerns or issues about seeing this counselor, consider choosing someone else.
The tricky thing is that sometimes one spouse won’t feel it’s necessary to see a counselor or won’t like a certain counselor, which might lead to them giving the therapist an attitude. Many therapists will decline the opportunity to continue working with someone who exhibits that kind of behavior. This is why it’s important for both spouses to feel comfortable with their choice of therapist.
Lastly, remember that a good marriage counselor won’t take sides, or make comments that intentionally make either partner feel uncomfortable. A good counselor will be supportive and encouraging, and offer skills and tools that strengthen the relationship.
Once you find a good marriage counselor, keep their contact information! Then schedule a check-up once or twice a year as needed to keep your marriage in tip top shape.
Hey, if you pay a mechanic $100 an hour several times a year to keep your car running smoothly, doesn’t it make sense to give your marriage, your most important relationship on earth, a tune-up, too?