3 Don’ts When Choosing A Marriage Counselor
John and Mary know their marriage needs help, and though Mary has mentioned counseling now and then, they continue to put off doing something about it. I get it. Seeing a marriage counselor is not on most people’s bucket list. It is understandable but also unfortunate; since the longer a couple waits, the more hurt, disengagement and resentment contaminate the relationship.
In other words, don’t wait until one spouse is so shut down they refuse to work on the relationship. I often have men like John call me in desperation telling me they wish they would have listened to their wives and agreed to go to counseling years ago.
Because couples like John and Mary often wait until their marriage is in major crisis, they need expertise and experience to pull them back from the edge and set them on a better path. The reality is many couples don’t know how to go about getting help.
Here are three don’ts to help save you from making the wrong choice.
Don’t leave it up to chance.
• Don’t leave your decision up to Phone Roulette. In other words, don’t make several calls or send several emails and then leave your decision up to the first person who answers the phone or the first person who contacts you back.
• Leave it up to hassle free technology. With me, you don’t need to play phone roulette or phone tag. All you have to do is go to my online scheduler at rcochran.com and click on the date and time that works best for you.
• Understand that not all counselors are experts in helping marriages. Many counselors mainly work with individuals and specialize in other areas. Working with couples is a completely different experience. You need to do your research.
• Check into potential therapists as thoroughly as possible. If they have a profile on psychologytoday.com read it and note whether they are a generalist or specialize in helping couples. Go to their website and look at their picture and read their “About Page”. Read their articles or blogs. Get a gut feeling for how you feel about the counselor. Also, note how much they talk about helping couples vs. individuals.
Don’t leave it up to money.
• 40-50% of first marriages and over 60% of second marriages fail. “Gray Divorce”, divorce of couples over 50 years old is rapidly increasing, even while the overall divorce rate is declining.
• Counseling is an investment in your marriage but also your children or future children. Patterns you establish in your life can affect generations to come.
• Divorce is very expensive and it is emotionally upsetting for all involved. It is worth it to spend the money that will get you back on track.
• Since divorce is so expensive financially and so emotionally upsetting, you also don’t want to leave your decision solely up to who takes your insurance.
• Please don’t misunderstand. There is no shame in working with someone who takes insurance. I realize I may be one of the more expensive therapists in the area so I may not be the right person for you. Please be very diligent when researching who you choose to entrust your family to.
Don’t leave it for later.
• Don’t be one of the couples that start looking and then wait to get help months or years later when your marriage is in dire straits.
• We can fool ourselves into thinking it will just get better. One spouse may really want counseling, and the other spouse may persuade their partner to work on the relationship without professional help or make a lot of promises that don’t play out.
• Sometimes people don’t get marriage help because to them it means something is wrong with them individually and/or relationally. They see all the smiling couples they work with or live around, and think they are unique. They perceive counseling as failure. They feel ashamed.
• Actually, since divorce statistics are so high, you are smart and courageous when you do something to address your issues. And not all those smiling people may be as happy as you think.
• If your gut says your relationship needs professional help, go with your gut. If your partner won’t go, the issue may need to be pressed. It won’t get better on it’s own.
• If your spouse won’t come in at first, you may want to go on your own.
You can look at my website and see my passion and speciality.
You don’t have to play phone roulette.
I have an online scheduler at rcochran.com that is simple to use.
You can email me at [email protected] or call me at 217-637-0229 if you have questions.