Marital therapists have undergone special training that allows them to work under licensure in agencies or facilities. Their training may vary, but most have taken child development, counseling psychology, social systems, social research, gender studies, and global or cultural studies. They understand the common patterns people exhibit, and they can interpret patterns of behavior. They also know how to identify abusive behavior. A good marriage counselor is one with plenty of experience, one that is respectful and makes you feel heard, and one who, does not simply help you identify issues but introduces solid strategies to help you achieve desired results. Marital therapists should assist the couple with identifying clear goals for their treatment. Once those goals are established, the counselor should be checking in regularly to address milestones of success. If this is not happening, or the counselor does not change up strategies that don't work; you may want to try someone new. Do not give up until things start to improve.