Marriage counseling is helpful to anyone who is married. A marriage counselor can help a couple through difficult times and they can also help a couple have a happier marriage.
However, not all marriage counselors are suited to help all marriages. You need to know what to look for when you seek out a marriage counselor. Here are the top 8 points that I would tell a friend or family member to consider when seeking the services of a marriage counselor.
1. Know Your Counselor’s Values
If you and your spouse are of a particular faith or religion, use a counselor with that same faith background. I would not recommend that a Christian go to an atheist counselor. Your beliefs and values are going to be starkly different.
Find a counselor that has your similar belief system. How do you know what their belief system may be? Look at the counselor’s website. Most will specify if they use a specific faith to guide their faith and practice.
For example, you can find counselors that use new age practices that embrace spirituality and connection with the universe. If that isn’t your belief system and instead you are a devout Baptist, then look for a counselor that labels themselves as a Christian counselor.
When it comes to matters of the heart, you want to receive life guidance, advice, and support from someone who thinks like you do. If you go to someone who has opposing views to your own beliefs, then the counseling experience will likely not be beneficial to you. Make sure that you and your spouse consider faith, religious background, and your belief system when looking at counselors that you may want to hire.
Your marriage is serious business, so take the time and effort to look at the background of the counselor you want to hire. You want to ensure that they will counsel in a manner that aligns with your personal and marital beliefs.
For example, I know a couple very close to me who went to marriage counseling after a year of marriage. This couple would describe themselves as Christians, even though they weren’t regular attenders at the time.
After several sessions with their couple’s counselor, it was suggested by the counselor that they get divorced. Thank goodness that the couple did not agree with the counselor! They did not take the counselor’s advice and remained married. They did however, feel that their time and money was wasted with that particular marriage counselor. Advertising
The marriage counselor held no personal stock in Christianity or the sanctity of marriage. This counselor focused on individual happiness and doing what is best for each person alone. This counselor did not specialize in helping marriages through their problems. His focus instead was on the individual rather than the couple.
However, this couple wanted the focus to be on their marriage, and helping them through their issues. They made it through that first year, in spite of the counselor and have now celebrated 40 years of marriage.
Their story is proof that you need to look at the counselor’s personal values before you dive into a counseling relationship and spend your money and time with someone who may not value what you value in life.
2. Do They Accept Your Insurance?
If you have health insurance that covers marriage counseling, then use it! The cost of good counseling is not cheap. It is well worth the money. But if you have insurance that covers counseling, then take advantage of this benefit.
You can contact your insurance company and they can provide you with the names and contact information of counselors that accept your insurance. If you found a specific counselor that you want to work with, then contact that counselor to see if they accept your insurance.
If you don’t have insurance, there are some counselors that have a sliding scale for counseling fees. They will charge based on your income level. If you think you would qualify for lower payments, then ask if they have a sliding scale available.
3. There are Free Marriage Counseling Options
If you cannot afford marriage counseling or you feel that the failing marriage is not worth investing another cent, then look at free marriage counseling options.
Don’t give up on your marriage without at least giving free counseling a try. There are many churches that offer free (or highly discounted) marriage counseling services.
For many of these churches you do not even need to be a member. These counseling sessions are often limited in number, meaning that each couple is provided a set number of sessions free. Advertising
This is okay though because if you are one of those couples who wouldn’t get help from a counselor unless it is free, then seek out the free options because several sessions is better than none!
4. What are the Counselor’s Credentials?
A reputable counselor will typically provide their credentials right on their website. They will state where they obtained their education and what degrees that have obtained.
Look to see what kind of counseling license they hold. Most counseling licenses require a Master’s degree or higher. There are some who call themselves counselors and hold no degrees and/or license. Depending on the state where they reside, it could be against the law for them to even be practicing.
It is a good general policy to use counselors that are legitimate, meaning they have the degrees and license. You want to be counseled by someone who knows what they are doing, so don’t risk your marriage by using someone who isn’t legitimate.
5. Ask About the Counselor’s Track Record
Ask the counselor what their success rate has been with other couples who have sought their help through couples counseling. A counselor who has a good record of helping couples survive their issues, helped them work though their problems, and the couple did not get divorced, then that counselor will be willing to tell you about it.