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Choosing A Marriage Counselor

Jan 30, 2008
Deciding to contact a marriage counselor is an important step in confronting problems and dilemmas head on. Just as important, however, is deciding what you hope to gain from your counseling sessions and what your expectations of the counselor may be. Ask yourself, for example, why you are consulting a counselor in the first place, making sure that you have taken the time to fully identify the issues that are creating problems in your relationship. Make an outline, with your partner if possible, of what you hope to gain from counseling.

After you have done this, decide whether it is important to you that your marriage counselor is married or not, whether it is important to you that they are familiar with the specific issues in your relationship or not, and whether or not it is important that your marriage counselor has children of their own. Also consider whether you prefer a female counselor or a male, and how far you are willing to drive and how many hours you are available to commit to counseling sessions.

While private insurance covers most counseling sessions, insurance plans do vary, and not everyone has insurance. This is why the issue of cost is vital in the decision to choose a marriage counselor. Some questions to ask include how much the therapist charges for each session, whether the therapist charges according to income, what the policies are concerning missed or canceled sessions and vacations, whether payment is expected after each session or billed periodically, and how long the sessions last, which segues into the next topic, things to ask your family and marriage counselor.

Be sure to ask your family and marriage counselor how many times a week they will want to see you, how long they expect your treatment to last, the types of treatment approaches that are used, whether your therapist accepts phone calls at home, who to contact in an emergency in the event that your therapist is not available, and the types of limits placed on confidentiality.

Credentials vary by therapist. MSW stands for Master of Social Work, MFCC stands for Marriage, Family, and Child Counselor, MFT stands for Marriage and Family Therapist and LCSW stands for Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Once you have narrowed down your search, the next step is to schedule a consultation with the prospective marriage counselor and your partner. Remember, recognizing a problem and taking steps to change it are the first and most important steps toward healthier, longer lasting relationships for life.
About the Author
For more information about marriage counselors, see divorce counseling
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