Updated on August 4, 2020
How to Choose a Marriage Therapist
Generally speaking a marriage can be said to be either happy, in trouble or over. It’s the ‘in trouble’ marriages which are discussed in this article. The aim of a marriage therapist is stop an ‘in trouble’ marriage from ending and to return it to the ‘happy’ category.
But if a marriage therapist is the answer to your problems, how do you choose the right one? Will any registered therapist do? Certainly not and here are some tips on ensuring the choice you make will give your marriage the best chance of overcoming its problems.
Interview the marriage therapist. Find out such things as where they took their degree, what post-graduate study have they done and where, who have they worked under when operating as an intern and what is their specific experience in working with married couples.
You want an experienced and certified therapist who has plenty of experience working with married couples and helping them overcome their problems.
There are two major approaches or theories in handling marriage therapy – the psychoanalytic and the behavioral approach. Which is the one favored by your potential therapist? And you should study these different theories even in broad detail because while a good marriage therapist will always work for the good of the couple, you might favor one strategy over another.
Then there are practical issues. How much do they charge, does your insurance cover this therapist’s accounts and is the therapist available after hours?
A recommendation from someone you respect can be a useful guide in choosing a marriage therapist. Some qualities you are looking for and could ask a former client about are (a) is the therapist a good listener and (b) does the therapist speak frankly and without favor.
Remember you are seeking help to improve your marriage. You want a mediator and a professional with skills and experience who can see the faults and weaknesses in the relationship and suggest strategies to overcome the problems.
A good marriage therapist will not apportion blame. You may feel that your partner is largely to blame for your marital strife and that he or she should be called to account. That is not the purpose of the therapy sessions. Your therapist will not take sides (or should not) but will aim to make your marriage a success. You are not in therapy to win a battle but rather to see the improvement of your marriage.
One way to hopefully get the absolute best from your choice of therapist is to know exactly the nature of your concerns. In fact writing down what you believe are the issues and why is a brilliant step. The therapist needs to know what the clients are seeking in specific terms. “We are fighting a lot” doesn’t help.
What are you fighting about and why are much better pieces of information to help the therapist who in turn can then help you.
By checking the location, qualifications, experience and fees of a prospective therapist, you should then speak to them in person or on the phone and ask relevant questions. From the comments and attitude of the various therapists, your short list can be reduced to one – the person who is most likely to help you and your partner return to a happy and stable relationship.
Here are additional resources you might be interested in: