We understand how difficult it can be to accept the help of a trusted professional, and we don’t take that lightly. It can be overwhelming and frankly disconcerting to be so vulnerable with a stranger and share your most personal story in hopes of saving your marriage and your family; especially if you’ve tried before in the past and didn’t get the results you hoped for. As professionals in this field, we know what it takes to make the leap, but you may be asking yourself, “Where do I start?” “How do I find someone who’s qualified?” This is my marriage, my relationship, my life… “How do I make sure I find the right couples therapist?”
Below are some tips compiled to help you choose a couples therapist who can support both you and your partner.
- Search for Therapists with Specialized Training in Couples Therapy
This might go without saying, but some people visit therapists (such as professional counselors or psychologists) without knowing whether or not they have the proper credentials to specifically assist married couples. There are a wide variety of therapists available, but only those trained, licensed, and experienced in supporting partners qualify to anchor the heavy conversations and reflective work necessary to begin your healing journey.
During this screening process, it may also be helpful to filter your search for therapists inside (or outside) your demographic to make you feel more comfortable. Get a referral from a close friend, family member, or trusted professional like your primary physician. And feel free to peruse through Google searches, websites, reviews, social media, and other online platforms to help you with your research.
- Ask Questions in the Consultation
Once you’ve compiled your list of potential candidates, schedule a phone call or consultation to get a feel for them and determine whether or not they are a good fit for both partners. Connecting with your therapist is arguably the most important tip on the list if it’s all going to work. Ask questions to see if there is a connection. After all, this is the person with whom you will be sharing your innermost thoughts, feelings, fears, and desires. If you’re not sure what kind of questions to ask, here are a few examples:
- Did you receive formal education and supervised training (i.e. Gottman, EFT, and Imago) in couples therapy?
- What percentage of your work would you say is with couples? You can make a rough estimate.
- What percentage of couples have you worked with where you have seen improvement as a direct result of therapy?
- What habits do you believe make a relationship successful? What habits make it unsuccessful?
- What is your opinion about divorce? Have you ever recommended divorce? What kind of circumstances were your past clients in that led to the recommendation?
- What will working with you look like? And anything else you and your partner can think of—get creative!
After this step is done, it’s time for you and your partner to select the best candidate and attend a few sessions together. Come into it with an open mind and open heart to receive the best results possible.
- Attend a Few Sessions and See if There’s a Connection
It’s imperative that you actually commit to attending a few sessions before you conclude that a therapist isn’t right for you. You and your partner should agree on a number of sessions to attend before officially calling it quits; anywhere between three and four sessions would be ideal, but a minimum of two would suffice. This way, it gives you time to see what the process would be like, give feedback on certain areas that you think could be improved, and see if they actually take your suggestions into consideration and implement them into the next session.
However, if you choose a therapist and after a couple of sessions you realize you haven’t connected or you feel this just isn’t the right fit, don’t continue with this person. Go back to your list and try again. Trust your intuition.
All in all, couples therapy can be life-changing when you and your partner are committed to the process and are working collaboratively with a well-trained therapist to regain trust and rebuild the foundation of your relationship.
Don’t call it quits if your marriage can be fixed! Contact Susan Block, LMFT, and her team of licensed therapists for a complimentary consultation. Our remote telehealth counseling services are available to individuals and couples throughout Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and the remaining Florida counties.