Selecting The Best Marriage Counselor For Your Family

Marriage counseling can seem intimidating at first, especially if you've never been to a counselor or therapist yourself. When feelings and problems seem beyond your control, marriage counseling can relieve those overwhelming feelings. Sometimes people simply need help, but it doesn't have to be scary or difficult. Did you know that almost 20% of Americans have seen a therapist at some point in their lives? (That's 60 million people!) Very few of those Americans have what is considered a "severe mental illness." Lots of people simply seek help from professionals they can trust to organize their lives better. 

Do I need Counseling?

There are many reasons why one might go to counseling or therapy. Feelings of hopelessness and sadness often encourage people to seek help. If it is difficult to engage in every day activities such as work, your marriage, or activities with your children without worrying or feeling down, counseling might be for you. It is important to seek help if your actions may be potentially harmful to others or your self especially in cases involving drinking, drugs, or depression. 

Types of Family Counseling

Licensed counselors come in many shapes and forms, but what they all have in common is a master's degree education (at least!) Rest assured that no matter what type of counselor you choose for your family, they have all passed a state counselor examination and fulfill the educational requirements. 

  • Marriage Counselors: Marriage counselors focus on strengthening and even rebuilding relationships. Crisis and stress can cause great separation within a family, and marriage counselors help the members of the family to express needs and emotions, work together, and establish rules and boundaries. There are many forms of marriage counselors, one of the most popular being Christian Marriage Counselors. Christian marriage counseling is very helpful for those who have specific needs regarding fundamental beliefs. 
  • Family Counseling: Similar to marriage counseling, this type of counseling is family oriented. The entire family, including children, are the focus of intervention. Assessments are made, and family members are encouraged to work together to solve problems and eliminate uncomfortable feelings. Christian family counseling is a great way to go if you want to emphasize and incorporate your spirituality during your sessions.
  • Premarital Counseling: Premarital counseling is a great choice for Christian families. Many people choose to participate in this type of therapy not because of issues within a pre-existing marriage, but to help build a foundation for a new one. A popular choice is Christian premarital counseling, which emphasizes Christian beliefs as a fundamental building blocks within the new relationship.

Selecting a Psychologist/Counselor

When selecting a psychologist, therapist, or counselor, there are a few things to keep in mind. Although there are plenty to choose from, you should avoid selecting one randomly. Try asking friends and family for recommendations (you'd be surprised by what advice you might get). Shopping online is also a great tool for picking the perfect counselor. When searching, keep in mind certain characteristics you would like your counselor to have. Gender, age, and personality are just a few things you should be looking out for. 

Questions to Prepare  

Once you've selected a counselor or two, feel free to ask them questions. It is important to find an individual that works well for your family, so no questions are really out of bounds. Some questions you may want to ask are, "How many years have you been practicing?", "What are your areas of expertise?", "What treatments do you use?", and "What are your fees?" Regardless of what questions you ask, rest assured that you are in good hands. Treat the experience as an opportunity, and try to relax. Counselors, therapists, and psychologists are trained to meet your needs, and are here to help.