What To Look for in a Marriage Therapist

Many marriages end in divorce but many which run into difficulty survive. Why? Often it is because both partners want the marriage to survive but that alone may not be enough. Often the difference between a marriage surviving or not is the work of a marriage therapist.

This person has the often tricky task of discovering what has gone wrong with the marriage and then seeking a way to overcome the problems and bring the couple back to a stronger marriage.

Of course the therapist must be neutral and the more experienced and knowledgeable they are the better. So here are some do’s and don’ts when choosing someone to help you and your spouse tackle a troubled marriage.

The Do’s

  • Choose a therapist who takes control and is proactive in running sessions
  • Choose a therapist who never takes sides but assesses the point of view of each partner
  • Choose a therapist who offers practical and reasonable alternatives to the problem
  • Choose a therapist who knows about the possible underlying causes of marriage difficulties – things like depression, drug and alcohol abuse and mental illness
  • Choose a therapist who will not tolerate bad behavior in sessions from either spouse
  • Choose a therapist who will not hesitate to challenge or question a stance taken by either spouse

The Don’ts

  • Avoid a therapist who favors one spouse over the other
  • Avoid a therapist who does not have a strict code of behavior when in therapy and who does not enforce those rules
  • Avoid a therapist who allows anger and criticism to take place in sessions
  • Avoid a therapist who is prejudiced or who has a set of beliefs that is rigid and requires men and women to act in a certain way
  • Avoid a therapist who seeks to go back into history to find a cause of a dispute rather than be more in the present to solve what is actually happening today

Remember that you are paying for the therapist and that means you can expect certain standards and procedures from your therapist. While they may tell you of their rules, you are entitled to outline what you expect in return.

Finally, as you are the one paying for the service, if you are not satisfied, stop the therapy sessions and find another therapist.

Here are additional resources you might be interested in:

When is the Right Time to Seek Help from Therapists?

How does a Marriage Therapist Help Couples Resolve Marital Issues?

Finding Marriage and Family Therapists in your Area