1. People & Relationships

How to Find the Right Marriage Counselor

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You are having problems in your marriage that you don't feel equipped to solve alone. It is time to contact a marriage counselor and you are wondering how to choose the right marriage counselor. It is imperative that you and your spouse are compatible with the marriage counselor you choose. Whether or not you are able to solve the problems in your marriage has a great deal to do with how compatible you are with your marriage counselor.

Things to Consider Before Contacting a Marriage Counselor:

  • Make sure you have a clear understanding of the issues and why you want to seek counseling. You need to be able to communicate the issues with a counselor so you can determine whether or not the counselor is experienced in dealing with your particular problems.

  • Decide whether you would prefer a marriage counselor that is married, single or has experience with a divorce of his/her own.

  • Decide whether you want a marriage counselor who is male or female.

  • Decide if you would want to be in counseling with therapists who has experienced counseling themselves. There may be a deeper understanding of your problems if your marriage counselor has also had similar issues to deal with in his/her life.

How Much Are You Willing To Pay a Marriage Counselor:

There are questions you will want to ask a marriage counselor regarding fees.

  • What are the charges per counseling session?

  • Does your income influence how much you will pay per therapy session? Some therapist charge based on income. Some who don't take insurance with charge based on how much a couple can afford to pay.

  • What are the charges if you miss a therapy session? How far in advance do you need to cancel a therapy session to keep from being charged?

  • Does the therapist honor your health insurance? If so, will you be expected to pay a co-pay after each session or will you be billed?

Questions You Should Ask a Marriage Counselor:

  • How long is a therapy session?

  • Will you and your spouse attend therapy sessions alone or together?

  • If you therapist goes out of town or on vacation will there be someone available in case a crisis arises in your marriage?

  • How often will the marriage counselor want to see you and your spouse?

  • Are all therapy sessions confidential? If you see the therapist alone will what you discuss be kept from your spouse?

  • How long can you and your spouse expect to be in therapy?

What a Marriage Counselor's Credentials Mean:

  • M.S.W.

    The initials M.S.W. mean that the counselor is a Master of Social Work. Social Workers apply social work theory, knowledge, methods and ethics to restore or enhance the functioning (social, psychosocial) of individuals, couples, families, and groups, as well as organizations and communities.

  • M.F.C.C.

    An MFCC counselor has heard a Master of Science degree in counseling with a specialization in marriage, family and child issues. They are trained to understand problems from both an individual and a family perspective.

  • M.F.T

    An M.F.T. counselor has earned a master's degree in social work with an emphasis on relationships. A marriage and family counselor is interested in who each person is within the context of the family unit. They focus on issues of human development, communication skills and interpersonal relationships.

  • L.C.S.W.

    L.C.S.W. stands for Licensed Clinical Social Worker. A counselor who utilizes social work theory, knowledge, methods, and ethics to restore or enhance the functioning of individuals, couples, families and groups, as well as organizations and communities.

Making Your Choice:

One you have done your research and have narrowed your search to a few marriage counselors you will want to call and talk to them. Most counselors will give a short phone consultation to new clients and answer questions you may have. You may want to think of it as you would a job interview. You are, after all hiring the counselor and care should be taken to hire the right one because you marriage is at stake. No better reason that that to choose well.

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