It can be a challenge to admit that you and your partner need help. Together, you have tried to improve your relationship and resolve ongoing conflicts. You may have also reached out to friends and family members for assistance.
However, if you are still stuck and your problems persist, then it may be time to try a couple therapist.
Your next big step is to find some couple therapists or marriage counselors and then to select one to work with. Both partners, not just one of you, should participate in finding and selecting the therapist.
How to Find a Couple Therapist
Here’s how you can go about identifying and locating some therapists:
- Ask friends and family members
- Ask your physician or minister
- Search online
- Get a list of “In-Network” providers from your health insurance company
Be sure to get the name, phone number, address and website address of each therapist you are interested in.
Steps to Take to Select a Therapist
Here’s how to gather information and decide which marriage counselor to meet:
- Make a Commitment – Both of you must agree to regularly participate in couples therapy even if it is uncomfortable at times.
- Set Goals – Discuss issues that you want to work on. Create therapy goals and prioritize them.
- Look for Specialists – Not all counselors and psychotherapists provide couple therapy. Marriage counseling is a specialty service and requires education. Find out about their training, experience and any specific credentials they may have.
- Visit Websites – Most professional therapists own their own website. Both of you should read some websites and gather information about their background and the services that they provide.
- Determine Cost – Call your health insurance company and find out what your plan will cover and your deductible amount. Also, decide how much you can afford to pay for the sessions.
- Decide Who Calls – Make an agreement on who will call the therapists for the initial phone consult and what questions to ask. Make a list of questions to ask each therapist you call and take notes to refer to later.
- Call the Therapist(s) – Confirm that they offer couple therapy and briefly tell them about your partnership struggles and goals. Ask about their fees, your health insurance coverage and if they have an opening. Take written notes and assess their listening skills.
- Select a Therapist(s) – The caller reports back to their partner with the information they gathered and the impression they have of the therapist. Then you both decide which ones to call for an initial “informational interview”.
- Make the Initial Appointment – Have the other partner make this call to set the first appointment. Call several therapists and schedule an appointment for an “informational interview” with one, two or three of them. It’s OK to “shop around” for your marriage counselor. Spend the money and time. Your relationship is very valuable and worth the financial investment.
- Interview the Therapist(s) – Take in a list of your goals and questions to ask during your initial “informational interview”. Remember, that in this first face-to-face meeting you are interviewing them for the job.
- Select Your Therapist – After all the information gathering, brief phone consults and the “informational interview” in-person, select the one that you both have faith in and resonate with. Select the one who “fits” best and schedule another appointment.
- Be Hopeful and Optimistic – It is important that you both believe that your problems and issues are solvable. Maintain a positive attitude that you will make significant progress.
- Constantly Evaluate – Assess whether the therapist: listens well; is fair and neutral; understands you; treats you equally; provides helpful feedback and exercises; and is able to handle intense emotions. In addition, evaluate whether the counseling is helpful. If either of you is dissatisfied with progress, tell your therapist. You are not obligated to continue working with a couple therapist if your sessions are not productive.
If you follow most of these steps, then you will find a couple therapist, select a good potential counselor, make progress in your relationship and live a more satisfying life.
For more information about “Couple Therapy”, please visit my web page at: http://www.drrevelmiller.com/what-we-treat/marital-conflict/
I have also posted a number of other articles about couple or marital therapy on this blog. You can find them by clicking on the blog category here: http://www.drrevelmiller.com/category/couples-therapy/