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 think you want to do that, just go online and start searching. Of course, not everything on the web is right for you or even true, so stick to reputable sources of information.
As you look for a marriage therapist, here are tips to go by:
Online directories are a good place to start looking, but as we mentioned earlier, not all sources on the Internet are trustworthy. Two of the most trusted directories for those looking for a marriage counselor are the National Registry of Marriage-Friendly Therapists (NRMF) and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT).
The Right Credentials
All therapists need a license, although the specific regulations may differ from one state to another. Generally, a marital therapist should be any of the following: licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), licensed mental health counselor (LMHC), licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) or psychologist (Ph.D.or PsyD). Most importantly, remember that not all couples therapists are qualified to practice marriage therapy , because the dynamics between married couples are obviously different from those between unmarried couples.
Meeting the Therapist
When you meet your prospective therapist for the first time, don’t hesitate to ask questions. This can be particularly important if you found them without a personal referral. Aside from the cost and the therapist’s availability, dig 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 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 Gut
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? Was he talking 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, remember that no matter how well-reviewed a therapist is, he can never ever fix your marriage for you. His function is only to help, but the fixing is something that only you, the couple, can do.