Marriage and family therapists do not throw ideas at struggling families “willy-nilly.” Instead, these gifted and caring professionals bring tremendous skills and experience to the table in their attempts to help families work through some of the most trying seasons of their lives.
If you reach a point in your married life that demands acute and perhaps long-term intervention from a counselor, seek a provider with appropriate credentialing and experience.
It can be very difficult to find a good marriage and family counselor, but you can always ask your family, friends, or your physician for an ideal choice. However, asking for a referral might not be right for someone who is not comfortable in disclosing their personal issues in front of others.
In such a scenario you can always try your luck and search the web for a good marriage counselor.
Searching reputable websites with counselor directories, such as the American association of marriage and family therapists (AAMFT) or National Registry of Marriage-Friendly Therapists are definitely recommended options.
The assurance of good family and couples therapy is highly contingent on how well trained the therapist is. Poorly trained and inexperienced marriage counselors can do more harm than good.
Thus, it is imperative to find a marriage and family therapist with appropriate training and experience to help you through your marital problems.
Here are a few things to consider on how to find the right marriage counselor? or how to find a family therapist?
To practice family and marriage therapy, therapists are required to obtain a license, which can vary from one state to another. A therapist practicing marriage therapy might be:
- a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT),
- a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC),
- a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), or
- a psychologist
Family therapy practitioners come from a wide range of professional backgrounds but are typically qualified and licensed family and marriage therapists to provide appropriate support for families.
In the United States, Marriage and Family Therapists typically have a master’s degree. Generally, a Masters in Art or a Masters in Science in clinical counseling, psychology, or marriage and family therapy is appropriate academic credentialing for the marriage and family therapist.
After graduation, prospective MFTs work as interns under the supervision of a licensed professional and are subject to substantive peer review.
Generally, even the best credentialed MFTs are not able to place a shingle on the wall and begin private therapy until they have passed the rigors of internship and peer review.
What to look for in a therapist
- While advanced degrees are an important facet of successful work as a marriage and family therapist, most consumers should be more interested in obtaining the services of someone with substantial experience in the field.
As the breadth and depth of family issues is quite beyond our imagination, families should always seek a practitioner with ample experience in a wide range of issues like abuse, addiction, infidelity, behavioral interventions and the like. It is always helpful to look for a practitioner that has a family of his or her own.
- Why would you ever want to retain the services of a person who cannot fully empathize with the issues being faced by your family? If a practitioner has no pragmatic experience in raising a family or maintaining a relationship, I fear that his or her usefulness is quite limited.
- Your therapist should be focused on helping you solve your marital relationship rather than ending your marriage.
- Feeling a level of respect from your therapist is very essential in order to feel comfortable with them. You or your spouse should feel comfortable enough to make suggestions during your discussion and your therapist should honor your suggestions.
- Your therapist should not be biased towards you or your spouse. The reason you opted for marriage and family therapy is to get an unbiased opinion from a professional.
A marriage and family therapist might also be biased because of their own perception and values about a relationship. If you sense a rigid behavior from your therapist, then he or she might not be the right choice for you.
Setting goals and not losing your sight from them is very imperative to find a solution through therapy. Also, try to focus on the future and not the past, your progress in therapy has to be oriented towards the future and not the mistakes of the past.
When working with a licensed marriage and family therapist, jointly working towards established goals, and putting the time and effort in the work, you will see results and your marriage will start to thrive.