Choosing a Marriage Counsellor?
What should you be looking for?
Change, growth and development is as important to life as is water, however, in order for this process to occur, change must move beyond simple desire The very act of seeking assistance to improve your relationship implies both a willingness to change and the power to do so.
Couples often ask how to choose a relationship therapist that best suits their situation. Most people seek couples counselling at a point of great need. Finding a marriage counsellor can be as hard as making the decision to see one. It is difficult to know which counsellor will be right for you.
Invariably when you look up the marriage counselling section of any directory whether it's online or in print, you find nothing more than a list of names. When you finally make the call, you need to know what to look for and the types of questions to ask. To help in this endeavour we have provided guidelines to help you feel more confident about choosing a specialist marriage counsellor.
It seems obvious but they have to know what they are doing. You want them to be qualified for the issues you need to work on. Few people ask the qualifications of their counsellor or even know whether the qualification they have is applicable. Knowing you can entrust your future and your precious relationship to a caring and competent professional is vital.
"few people actually ask the qualifications of their counsellor"
Your specialist marriage counsellor must have completed a relevant university undergraduate degree, combined with postgraduate studies in couples counselling. These courses require four years of committment as a minimum. Examples of typical and acceptable degree course are:
1. Social Work Degree
2. Psychology Degree
3. Masters in Counselling
4. Allied Health Degree, preceding their postgraduate counselling course.
The number of years of experience counts in counselling just as it does in many other professions. At least two to five years is necessary to consolidate learning. This length of training and experience reflects an age group of counsellors that will have life experience of their own to draw on.
Important points for you to think about;
Will you feel more comfortable with a male or female counsellor?
Unless you have very strong opinions on this, the gender does not necessarily matter. The most important issue is the rapport that develops between the counsellor and you. This will happen over the first couple of sessions making the gender of the counsellor a non issue.
Age of the couple counsellor?
Most people want a marriage and relationship counsellor who has life experience as well as professional experience. Ask the age of your counsellor.
Check out the Service.
Look at the counsellor or organisation's Website and read through the information on offer. The Website will give you an impression of the service ideals and beliefs. Look at their Vision and Core Value statements. Is it something you feel comfortable with?
What about organisational support?
Are they an independent practitioner, or are they supported within an organisation? The independent practitioner is just that, they determine their own accountability. The advantage of an organisation is the formal structure of professional supervision and accountability for the therapist. You have to feel comfortable with the choice you make here.
The Marriage Counselling Service you contact should be able to offer appointments during the day, in the evening and possibly on Weekends to give you greater flexibility.
You should be able to get an appointment within two weeks. Some services make a waiting list standard practice. You decide how long you would like to wait.
Find a location that suits, but don't be put off by travel. Distance can too easily be used to avoid making an appointment. Remember it's not an everyday event.
Here your finances may place a natural restriction on price. Weighing out your investment in marriage counselling against other expenses can make it seem inexpensive. The real price of not getting the help you need is having your marriage or relationship fall apart. Few couples would spend anywhere near the cost of a modern television for instance, to restore their relationship to a positive level.
1. Counselling Qualifications
2. Specialist marriage and relationship counselling courses, i.e. couple's therapy course.
4. Years of experience.
5. Follow up and Organisational support.
Although there may not be a perfect therapist for every person or couple who seeks help, at Humaneed we endeavour to match our couple therapists training, experience, area of interest and expertise combined with their life experiences, to that of our clients needs and situation. The team at Humaneed have in addition to specialist marriage counselling qualifications; all have years of both professional and life experience.
At Humaneed, we place great value on the importance of the therapeutic relationship that occurs between the therapist and the person or couple they assist. Indeed, assisting couples to find resolution to their problems is complex therefore at Humaneed we have developed the organizational structures to best support both the therapist and couples achieve positive outcomes.
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