When two people get married, they usually expect a happily ever after. In most cases, however, the reality is not a fairy tale. Instead, a real marriage takes work. Sometimes, it even requires outside support. When a married couple finds that they’re not that happy being together but are still interested in working it out, they will probably plan on seeing a marriage counselor.
Marriage counseling can help save your marriage. However, in order to be successful, you need to find the right counselor. There is a range of counselors who will offer service in your area, so you will need to consider a few criteria to determine the right one.
Of course, you may not need a marriage counselor for every single marital issue. Sometimes, the couple just needs to have random conversations such as knowing the things that contribute to a healthy marriage to keep their relationship strong. Still, it makes sense to know how you can find the best marriage counselor in case you end up needing one after all. Here are a few factors to keep in mind when you’re in search of marriage counseling:
Look to See the Counselor’s Location
It is important that your marriage counselling is accessible. Therefore, you need a counsellor that works in your vicinity. You may want a counsellor with an office close to your home, but you could also look for a counsellor with an office near your place of employment. The key is to find someone who can be easily visited as needed. It is a choice to attend counselling sessions, and you want to make it as easy as possible to start the difficult task of saving a marriage.
However, some couples may not want to have a counselor near their place of work or residence. The main reason for this preference is probably that they value privacy over convenience. After all, their marriage problems are no one else’s business. For anyone who feels this way, the best counselor location will be a little out of the way where their friends, family members, and acquaintances wouldn’t be able to observe them.
Verify the Office Hours for the Counselor
Another quick detail to check is the office hours of the counsellor. Marriage counselling does not have to be conducted during normal work hours. In fact, for some couples, it is impossible to get away at this time. Therefore, you will want to make sure the counsellor offers times that are compatible with your schedule. This will make it easier to maintain regular sessions. Some counsellors have extended daytime hours or even work on weekends to meet the needs of patients.
In case you feel that it might become necessary, do ask if a potential counselor will also give appointments on short notice. Some might even allow walk-in at certain times. These perks will be a great way to get in some guidance right when it’s most needed.
Compare the Cost of Different Counselors in Your Area
In a perfect world, the cost would never be a consideration when trying to save your marriage. However, the reality is that cost is a very important factor for most couples. You cannot go into debt to save your marriage. High counselling costs are only likely to add stress to the relationship. Therefore, ask about the cost of counselling upfront. You need to know how much it will cost to get the help you need to move forward with your relationship. Many counsellors will have hourly rates, and some may offer sliding scales based on the monetary limitations of patients.
Double-Check the Counselor’s Credentials
Always make sure that the counsellor is fully qualified. Look to see where the counsellor went to school, and make sure that his or her educational background is acceptable. Then, you will want to see if the counsellor is currently licensed to practice in your area. Finally, you could verify that the counsellor is involved with professional organizations. This will tell you how active and respected your counsellor is. Your counsellor doesn’t need to be steeped with impressive credentials, but you do want to double-check that the counsellor is qualified for the task at hand. Fortunately, much of this information is available online, which means it is easier than ever to vet a potential counsellor.
Consider the Counselor’s Strategies and Treatments
There are many approaches to counseling. You should see what approaches the counselor uses. It is important to ensure that the strategies your counselor uses are compatible with your needs and personality. First, ask about the counselor’s values. What is his or her opinion on marriage and relationships? Is it compatible with your own? Then, ask about his or her approach. Is the counselor familiar with the emotionally focused couple’s approach? Does she or he use the Gottman method? What other approaches has the counselor used in the past? These strategies can have a large impact on the direction of your counseling.
If someone has recommended the counselor to you, ask him or her why they did so. You don’t need to know all the details, but getting some genuine feedback can help you decide whether this is the right decision for your relationship. Not every counselor will fit well with every single couple, which is why you need proper reviews of their services. If a counselor seems to be too rigid and forceful, for instance, this may not be your cup of tea. In such cases, it will be better to look around for someone who is more subtle and cautious about approaching your problems.
Get a Feel for Your Dynamic with the Counselor
Ultimately, you will be spending a lot of time with your counsellor. You will be discussing many personal issues. This can be difficult, embarrassing and very uncomfortable. Therefore, you will want to make sure you are comfortable with your counsellor. Talk to the counsellor in advance to make sure the dynamic is good. Both you and your partner should feel confident in the counsellor’s ability to serve as a point person in your relationship. This personal dynamic is not a question of credentials or training. It is merely a feeling.