Couples Therapy: The Importance of Working with a Well-Trained Marriage Counselor

June 13, 2011 by

Couples therapy can actually hurt your relationship if you’re not working with a well-trained marriage counselor. Many couples only overcome their relationship issues due to the help of counseling, but 25% of couples are actually worse off. Some marriage counselors just aren’t equipped to work with couples who are in serious trouble and even steer them toward divorce. So how do you make sure that you’re benefiting from the time, effort, and money you are putting into counseling? Here are a few guidelines.

Get help early. Did you know that couples wait an average of 6 years with a problem before seeking help? By that time, the situation is critical and is more difficult to resolve. Seek help when problems begin in order to keep things from escalating out of control. You’ll also be able to evaluate a marriage counselor with less pressure on the situation, and be in a better place to find another counselor to work with you in future if you don’t like their methods.

Find out their opinion on marriage. You want to work without a marriage counselor who is “pro-marriage.” Some therapists believe that infidelity means that a divorce is inevitable or maybe even preferred, and that’s not the type of couples therapy that will help save your marriage. If you are committed to your relationship, you want to find someone who is just as committed to helping you stay together.

Ask about their past successes and failures. They may not have statistics readily available, and don’t expect them to have a perfect record, but they should be able to tell you whether they have seen others in couples therapy with your issue and were able to help them overcome it. The more experience they have helping others get past a problem, the more likely they will be able to help you do the same.

Evaluate your therapist’s methods. Are you rehashing the same problems in couples therapy week after week? Or are you finding new ways to communicate, compromise, and understand your differences? It takes time and trust to get to the bottom of things. Don’t expect problems to go away overnight, but you should feel like you are being given the tools you need to strengthen your relationship.

Every couple fights. It is a normal part of any relationship. It’s how you handle these disagreements that can lead to a successful marriage… or a divorce. Consider marriage workshops that teach you how to get along.  Look for a well-trained marriage counselor with a pro-marriage focus, and you’ll find that couples therapy works.