You and your spouse have decided you need to take part in marriage counseling. You both have also decided that online marriage counseling will work best for the two of you. Great! But now comes the really hard part—finding a good marriage counselor online.
Just like if you were doing it in-person, shopping around for a good marriage counselor is key to your success. Every marriage counselor is different, and with an online marriage counselor it can be easier to hide behind the layers of the Internet. So it’s really important to check facts as you search for the right therapist who can help you and your spouse.
In the end, the results will depend on what you and your spouse put into it. But what can help facilitate that change is the advice and direction offered by your online marriage counselor. Choosing the right one is vital to being able to communicate better, and work through issues effectively.
Follow these steps to help you find a good online marriage counselor.
1. Request referrals
Anonymity may be a big reason you decided to go with online therapy over in-person therapy—but if you know anyone who has used online therapy before, it’s worth it to send a private message and ask. You could also ask via an online forum. Don’t just ask for names or websites; ask for WHY they liked or disliked this person and how they helped or hindered progress in their marriage.
2. Read reviews with a grain of salt
Each marriage counselor website will most likely have feedback and reviews written by former clients; obviously they are ALL going to be good reviews. Even if they do get bad reviews, then the therapist isn’t going to want to post the bad ones on the website. So read the reviews that appear on the website if you choose, but just know that it is a skewed view of the overall possible ratings.
3. Compare what’s out there
Find the top rated online marriage counseling websites, and read the “about the counselor” sections. Make a list of their names and backgrounds. Who strikes you as being very experienced and helpful? Where are their degrees from? Why did they get into the industry in the first place? All of these things can help give you an idea of what kind of person and therapist each one is, which will help you in deciding which one to go with.
4. Scrutinize credentials
Working with anyone online can be scary. How do you know if they are who they say they are? How do you know if what they are telling you about their credentials is true? There are several ways to do so, but it’s best to check with the state’s website where the therapist is located, and find the area on the website where you can check the credentials of a therapist who practices in that state.
5. Ask lots of questions
It’s important to interview your therapist before signing up to work with him or her. Write down questions you may have and make sure they are answered to your satisfaction before you agree to work with him or her. Possible questions could be: How long have you been a marriage counselor? How many couples have you helped? What is your method for working through conflict? Do you work with other people or do you focus mostly on marriages? How often will we be talking? Will always talk to you or do you ever refer patients to an assistant or associate therapist?
6. Each spouse should pick a top
Maybe you both like different online marriage counselors for different reasons. Each of you can now pick your top 3 and compare lists. Do you have any in common? That therapist might be the best one for you to go with. No one in common? Talk to each other about the names on your lists and pros and cons of each.
7. Once you decide which counselor to choose, agree to a trial run
Give it a session or two to see if you are a good fit. Sometimes you will be and sometimes you won’t be. It’s really important that you can both have a lot of trust in the counselor. If trust isn’t there, then it wouldn’t be worthwhile to continue; it may be time to start the process over and search for a new counselor.
It may feel like a time consuming process to find a good marriage counselor online, but in the end all of the effort will be worth it.