6 Factors to Consider When Choosing Marriage Counselors
When your marriage is on the rocks, one of the first things that you should do is look into marriage counselors.
Even if your marriage is in good condition it can be helpful to have a check-in with a counselor every so often to address any small issues in your relationship with an unbiased third party present.
Choosing the wrong counselor can be worse than not having a counselor at all. How do you know when you’re choosing the right one?
We want to help guide you on the right path.
Keep reading for a few factors that you want to consider when choosing your marriage counselor.
1. Do They Have Experience With Marriage Counseling
This might seem obvious, but there are counselors out there who attempt marriage or group therapy without actually having that training.
Counselors all have different specialties. Sometimes they have multiple specialties or there’s some crossover somewhere. Not all counselors are cut out to be marriage counselors, and you don’t want someone’s first marriage counseling experience to be with you.
Just because someone is an excellent individual therapist or an excellent social worker does not mean that they’ll be an excellent marriage counselor.
2. Are They Accepting of Your Faith or Lifestyle?
Not all counselors are going to be able to navigate all marriage situations. Some can be insensitive to certain faiths or lifestyles.
Many counselors will list specialties on their personal websites. They will often mention working with certain groups, like religious subgroups or relationship styles. They won’t, however, mention what they may discriminate against.
When reaching out to a counselor, be clear in what you’re looking for. For example, if you’re a Muslim, Jewish, or Christian couple, ensure that your counselor can be sensitive to your religion.
This also rings true for different types of relationships that some people may consider “alternative”.
If you and your partner are in the LGBTQ community, it’s important that you find a counselor who can navigate that without discrimination. You deserve a counselor who respects your relationship.
If you participate in alternative relationships, like polyamory, your counselor also needs to understand this.
Having a counselor that fundamentally disagrees with aspects of your personal lives that directly impact your relationship is counterproductive to your therapy experience.
3. Do They Have Good Reviews?
When you’ve found a counselor that seems to work for you, look into any references and reviews before making a decision.
With therapy, it’s not always easy to find reviews. Many people see therapy (even marriage therapy) as shameful. If you can find them, though, use them.
Sometimes therapists and counselors will have testimonials on their personal websites. While these are helpful, remember that they’re tailored with the intention of getting more clients. If they’re willing to show off the good work that they’ve done, though, it’s a good sign.
More honest reviews often come from pages that are made specifically to review healthcare workers, or even just Yahoo or Google.
4. Are They Pro-Marriage?
Not all marriage counselors are serious about marriage as an institution. This might sound counterproductive, but some are more “relationship counselors”, meaning that the marriage specifically isn’t the focus.
No marriage counselor should pressure you to stay in a marriage, but they should be supportive of it so long as it isn’t abusive (and if it is, they may still work towards fixing the marriage through suggesting personal therapy).
Ask your counselor about how they feel about marriage first and judge based on their answer.
5. Do Both of You Like Them?
This is different from picking a personal counselor or therapist. With a personal counselor, only you need to like them. It can be hard to find a good fit but there are fewer kinks to work out.
When you bring your partner into the mix, though, you may double the problem. Both of you need to feel comfortable with the marriage counselor that you choose. It’s also important that the counselor treats both of you equally.
For that reason, it isn’t recommended to choose one of your personal counselors to also function as your marriage counselor.
Some marriage counselors are, unfortunately, biased towards one gender. If you’re in a same-gender relationship, this doesn’t have to be a problem. If you’re in a heterosexual marriage, though, it’s unfair to have the counselor favor one spouse over the other by virtue of their gender.
It might be necessary to have consultations with several counselors before you find the “right one” for your marriage. This is a lengthy process, but finding the correct counselor for both of you is crucial for your progress.
6. Do They Fit In Your Budget?
Mental healthcare, marriage counseling included, doesn’t come cheap. It can be helpful to check on prices first when you initially talk to your counselor.
Sometimes insurance covers marital counseling, but this isn’t always the case.
Marriage counseling isn’t a “one and done” situation. It takes time to build a rapport with a counselor that lets you comfortably open up. That’s when the counseling really begins. This can be a commitment of months or even years depending on your circumstances.
You need to know that you’re going to be able to continue affording this counselor in the long run.
Some people might be hesitant to choose a counselor that’s more affordable, but the price does not dictate quality or chemistry. You can not make progress with a counselor that you are unable to afford for more than a few sessions.
Is It Time to Start Looking at Marriage Counselors?
There are plenty of qualified marriage counselors in the world, but not all of them are going to be the right fit for you and your spouse. Make sure that when you finally commit, your counselor makes both of you comfortable.
Finding a counselor that respects your relationship and lifestyle and has all intentions of helping your marriage thrive if it’s possible can be challenging, but it’s worth it.
If you’re interested in marriage counseling, visit our site for a free consultation. We might just have the counselor for you.