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There are many different reasons why a couple may be seeking the guidance of a marriage counselor. Every individual is different, and each person contributes uniqueness to the relationship dynamics that make up a marriage. The habits, patterns, and roles in a marriage are often assumed by each party early in the relationship. Individuals are constantly evolving, and as the individuals in a marriage change and develop, so too must their relationship. As is true with maintaining any authentic relationship, marriage will require active work and dedication. The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) reported the findings of a study that indicate, “of couples who try marriage counseling, 90% feel that their emotional health improves, and two-thirds report improvements in their physical health.” Marriage counseling provides a couple with an emotionally safe environment to delve into areas of the relationship that may need attention, make thoughtful decisions surrounding the status of a relationship, and help couples come to realize whether or not both parties authentically wish to work towards rebuilding and/ or strengthening the relationship or work towards separating amicably. In order for marriage counseling to be truly effective, both members of the relationship must be open and willing to participate in the therapeutic process. 

Getting Started

There are a multitude of marriage counselors available, each with differing foci and/ or specializing in different therapeutic modalities. Narrowing down the options can seem overwhelming. Below are several suggestions that can help you through the process and ensure you find a marriage counselor that is the best fit for accommodating all of your couple counseling needs. 

  • Get recommendations:
    • If you are comfortable delving into your network of trusted family and friends, ask for references.
    • Check out some online sources: many marriage counselors have websites available for potential clients to review and/ or are included in an online compilation of reputable mental health professionals:
  • Ask your primary care provider (PCP) to refer you to a marriage counselor that they recommend.
  • Understand costs: each marriage counselor will charge a fee for their services. The costs will vary, as different providers charge different rates. Some marriage counselors accept insurance as a form of payment, while others do not. It is important to understand your out-of-pocket financial responsibility prior to selecting a counselor, to ensure their services are not financially prohibitive. 
  • Interview: Call and interview potential marriage counselors: prior to scheduling an appointment make a phone call to ask a potential counselor questions, so as to ensure their practices align with your needs.
  • Give yourself options: Interview at least three marriage counselors before you make your selection.
  • Be Patient: Although you are likely eager to find a marriage counselor, take your time and be patient. Remember that this is a process, and trust that you will eventually find the right one. 

It is important to bear in mind that each marriage counselor is different, and not all marriage counselors will be a perfect match. If you and/ or your spouse finds he or she does not necessarily jive with the therapist selected, try a different one. In order for marriage counseling to work each party must feel comfortable with the professional selected.

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health.  As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.