It’s been said there are more bad counselors than good ones.
How do you find a solid one?
Do the necessary prerequisite homework – research them and ask others for referrals.
Ask yourself some of the following questions?
Are my spouse and I experiencing simple communication issues? If so, a good LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) may be the right marriage counselor.
Are my spouse and I experiencing a rut? Once again, a good LCSW may be appropriate.
Does my spouse have a drinking or addiction problem? A marriage counselor who is also a psychologist might be the correct choice.
Is my spouse a narcissist? Again, a marriage counselor who is also a psychologist may be a greater resource in this case.
Are these hard and fast rules? No.
There are wonderful LCSW’s who may tackle bigger behavioral issues and psychologists who may not be the right fit for you. However, it is important to take into account the magnitude and severity of your marital problems when searching for the proper counselor.
Ask yourself difficult questions about your specific problems and be honest about them.
Create a short list of top picks and from there make an appointment with several of them. This is more important than one might think. A simple, one-time meeting can give you a very good feel for whether or not you have chosen the correct fit for you, your spouse and your marital issues. It’s honestly no different than choosing any other type of doctor. You need to determine if their practice and methodology will work for you.
It’s hard enough to conquer highly emotional relationship problems.
Therefore, you owe it to yourself and your relationship to increase your chances of coupledom success as much as possible.
There are a few other ways to determine if you have landed on the right counselor’s couch.
5 Things a Good Marriage Counselor Won’t Do:
1. Teach You To Hate Your Significant Other:
Sorry, but as angry as you may be at your SO, a truly good counselor will teach you to…
‘A good counselor teaches you to heal rather than hate.’
Sure, they will also validate wrongdoing or bad behavior, they will bring attention to the cheater or addict, the narcissist or the selfish, the enabler or the controller and so on. But they will address that behavior and move forward.
They will teach individual accountability and prompt both parties towards a healing process of discovery and resolution.
2. Tell You What You Want To Hear:
It’s a widely accepted fact people go to counseling because they believe the other person is to blame.
‘A good counselor tells you what you NEED to hear not WANT to hear.’
Even if your SO cheated, is a narcissist, compulsive liar or a gambler – you chose them. And there will be some self-discovery necessary to determine why you gravitated towards or stayed with someone who continued to behave badly.
Be prepared because it is hard to hear our shortcomings in the best of situations. In this emotional steroid environment, it is extremely easy to be sensitive. Either you want to save your relationship or you don’t. Either you want to learn and grow or stay in denial?
If you’re not ready to hear some challenging words counseling may not work for you.
3. Allow You To Play The Victim:
Let’s face it by the time you arrive in marital counseling pretty much all parties are feeling the victim.
‘A good counselor walks a fine line between validation and victimization.’
Sure, there are ruthless SO’s who do very bad things, but if a counselor promotes a Little Red Riding Hood Big Bad Wolf mentality it prevents an individual from regaining their self-empowerment.
Recovery demands accountability for every single choice we make which leads us to even our unfavorable destinations.
4. Make A Diagnosis The First Few Visits:
Dart from the proverbial couch if a counselor attempts to make a diagnosis on your first visit.
‘A good counselor doesn’t have the ‘data to diagnosis’ on the first few visits.
They simply do not know enough about each of you to tell you exactly what your problems are stemming from. Furthermore, the best counselor does not release too much information too quickly because they realize it may prevent one or more spouse from returning. They understand relationships must be built in order for enough trust to exist between counselor and patient.
They understand relationships must be built in order for enough trust to exist between counselor and patient.
5. Teach TextBook Blame Of Any Kind:
All of our relationship problems generally stem from our family of origin. We gravitate towards that which is familiar.
‘A good counselor doesn’t preach fraction they promote forgiveness.’
We aren’t meant to blame or hate our parents for the choices they made. They are after all, as human as we are and made the best choices they were capable of making. And we have also made both good and bad choices in our relationships.
A good therapist acknowledges the past and confronts its necessary baggage. They teach coping mechanisms and boundaries and self-protection to deal with difficult issues.
They celebrate how all of these challenges and milestones created the person you are and celebrate you despite our human condition.
Every person owes it to themselves to find a great counselor who will aid in your personal growth and from there a more profitable relationship will evolve.
Relationships are by nature two and not one.
But each one of us brings huge emotional significance to that duo.
Marriage counseling may appear scary at first. And it actually is.
But LOVE is so worth it.
Not just the love for another – our own self-love as well.
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