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Everything You Need to Know to Find a Family or Marriage Counselor-in Plain English

Aug 17, 2007
It is your life we are talking about. And your spouses. And your kids. Take every necessary step to find the right counselor for your needs.

It can be very hard to do this, though, because of all the overwhelming ads and the multiple types of professionals soliciting, such as psychologists,social workers,mental health counselors etc. But, the fact of the matter is that you can find the right marriage counselor and many of them are very good.

Believe it or not, most of them, as their primary motivation, actually want to help you. Here are some of the things to look for in your psychologist, therapist or marriage counselor. Just take these steps to find the perfect counselor for you.

Find a therapist that does mostly marriage or family counseling. This is important. You will want someone who not only knows expert counseling methods, but also one who will have experience in dealing with problems similar to yours. This simple principle can really make a large difference.

Many counselors have one or two particular areas of expertise and do other things as well. If you find one who works mainly in marriage or family counseling, you are likely to be able to count on him/her to know more about how to solve your problems than someone who works mainly with adolescents, for example.

To find a counselor that you can trust, look towards the American Psychological Association, the Illinois Psychological Association or the Illinois chapters of the Mental Health Counselors Association or the National Association of Social Workers for recommendations.

It helps to know that someone knowledgeable is recommending the one that you are choosing. If you feel that you can, ask friends and family about their
recommendations as well.

Once you find a few names to consider, make sure that you know about them. Ask about their relevant experience for cases like yours.

While this will not tell you whether your marriage counselor will be successful with you and your spouse, it is safe to say that it will give you some idea of his or her skill level.

Consider how well the counselor will be dedicated to you and your spouses problems. You can judge this by what he or she tells you and by how well he or she works with you. Does s/he accept your health insurance? Are your calls returned promptly? Can you trust that your sessions will start on time?

Ask them how many other cases similar to yours that they are handling at the time. You need to know their dedication and expertise regarding your personal needs.

Perform an interview with the counselor. Ask the questions discussed previously. If at all possible make it an in person interview. This will help you to get a feeling for the counselor.

Ask about his/her therapeutic techniques. An experienced marriage counselor should be able to tell you what methods are used and what distinct stages occur in the marriage counseling process.

Is it important to compare fees. Maybe. Maybe not. If your therapist does psychological counseling regarding marital issues and, if s/he accepts your insurance, youll only have to make the co-pay at each visit (it often ranges between $0 to $70 a visit depending on your policy); your insurance will cover the rest.

However, if your marriage counselor doesn't do psychological counseling during your visit, your insurance won't cover any of it. Out-of-pocket fees can then range from $80 to $150 a visit. Whether the therapist does psychological counseling and not only marriage counseling can be a technical question, so be sure to ask.

Lastly, it is important to choose a therapist that you trust. If you do not feel comfortable with a therapist, you shouldn't work with him/her. It makes sense that you and your spouse should be able to talk with him/her easily and discuss all the specific details of your problems.

You should feel comfortable providing him/her with what is needed. Trusting your counselor will go a long way to helping you relax and relieve some of your stress.

The perfect marriage counselor? Is there really one out there? Who knows, but there is definitely one therapist with whom you can feel comfortable and at ease. When you take the time to make sure that the counselor that you have chosen is a good one, you can be sure that the future of your marriage or family is in capable hands.
About the Author
Dr Shery is in Cary, IL, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake and Lake-in-the-Hills. He's an expert marriage counselor and psychologist. Call 1 847 516 0899 and make an appt orlearn more about counseling at: http://www.nextdayappointment.com
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