In my previous blog, I gave you a few questions to ask in order to determine if your potential counselor is qualified to intervene in your relationship. In this second half, I will give you thoughts to consider on their particular methodology, or how they will approach your relationship. Some types of therapy work better for certain couples, and finding someone in tune with your values is crucial.
Here are some questions to consider:
Do they specialize in a specific area of treatment? What percentage of their practice is with couples?
If you are working with a therapist who specialized in working with a specific population of people, they are much more likely to hone their skills in working with that population. Avoid therapists who primarily work with individuals. There are therapists who LOVE working with couples and therapists who will see couples but don’t really prefer working with them. You are best served by a therapist who specializes in working with couples.
What are they doing to keep current with the research and best practices of care in the area they specialize in?
Maybe you are thinking about working with a counselor who states they have worked with couples for 25 years. This may or may not be a good thing. The couples counseling field is always changing and emerging. Does the counselor go to training to stay current with evidenced/research based intervention? How do they stay current with evidenced based intervention?
What is their approach in trying to help a couple salvage their marriage versus help the couple break up? What is their approach when one person in the marriage would like to save it, and the other person is seriously considering ending the marriage?
If the counselor takes a neutral stance or takes a more individualistic look at the marriage (working primarily with each individual, and not directly on the marriage) it is best to look for another marriage counselor. If the counselor tells you they focus on helping the one person to clarify the commitment to their marriage, look elsewhere. Both individuals have a role in the state of their marriage and both have unique skills they need to develop when their marriage is in crisis. This is a unique set of skills among marriage counselors called Discernment Counseling.
More information about Discernment Counseling can be found here: http://relationshipandsexualwellness.com/discernment-counseling/
I hope this series has helped to serve as guidelines in finding the right person to help your marriage. There are good therapists out there who are dedicated to their work with couples and marriages. Take the time to do some research before scheduling an appointment. Your marriage depends on it!