Choose A Good Marriage Therapist – Here Is What To Look For
The pressures that fall upon on a modern relationship are greater and more difficult to deal with than ever before. The roles that women and men had in a traditional 20th Century relationship have been completely flipped, so no longer are men expected to be the breadwinner and women to be stay-at-home moms.
Women now play an increasingly larger role in business and careers, as well as politics, whilst balancing the demand of motherhood and sometimes receiving criticism for not being present for their children.
Men have had to learn how to express their fears and sensitivities in a way that they were never able to do before without scorn being cast upon them for their lack of masculinity.
During this paradigm shift, the dynamics of a couple’s relationships often change without anyone noticing, and the consequential emotional pressures can take them by surprise and cause conflict. So
If you add parenthood to this mix, this can cause explosive and intense long-lasting emotional situation in any marriage. It is time to seek professional help from a suitable couples’ therapist or psychologist, and so in this article you will find some guidance as to how to choose the right one for you and your spouse to get your relationship back on track, strong, and healthy.
1. Make sure that you consult a qualified marriage therapist
A national survey report from the Family Social Science Department, University of Minnesota indicated that although 81% of licensed private practice therapists promote themselves as conducting marriage therapy; however only about 12% of them are in a profession that requires even one course or any supervised experience. So it goes without saying that you must do your due diligence and make sure that you do careful research before consulting a marriage therapist, so as to make sure that you chose therapist is competent, trained and experienced. Do ask what proportion of their work relates to couples each month, and in making your decision, lean towards choosing a counselor who undertakes a high parentage of couples’ therapy in their practice.
2. Look for a counselor or therapist who is a member of professional organizations
There are quite a number of reputable local and national organizations for couples, a few of the most notable include The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), The International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors (IAMFC) and The National Council on Family Relations.
Of course, membership of these organizations can never guarantee that your therapist is suitably qualified and right for you as such, but bear in mind that:
a) membership does indicate that a therapist is prepared to devote his or her time and money to demonstrate that they want to achieve and abide excellent professional standards
b) the organizations do impose training and educational requirements (for example the AAMFT designates that a therapist has been supervised by another marriage therapist and completed adequate coursework and training, at least in family therapy, as well as requiring members to abide by a stringent code of ethics in the marriage and family therapy profession.
3. Make sure that the counselor or therapist does not have “divorce bias”
It may seem obvious, but when seeking counseling, most couples are looking for a way to become closer and repair the damage in a marriage, not a way out of it. It follows that a counselor should be in favor of helping couples to find a way to improve and save their marriage. The AAMFT found in one survey that almost 60% of its clinical members responded that they were ‘neutral on the subject of marriage and divorce.
So make sure to ask about a prospective counselor’s views on marriage and divorce reflect a constructive attitude to fixing problems within a marriage and finding solutions, and that they will treat separation and divorce as a last resort.
So now you have three things to look out for when choosing therapist or psychologist – what is your experience when looking for marriage counseling? Do share your insights below and thanks for reading.