Whether you’re looking for a marriage counselor because you need serious relationship help or a quick tune-up, you need to find the right one. These qualities of a good marriage counselor will help you find a therapist who is caring, kind, and helpful.
In How To Save Your Marriage In 3 Simple Steps: Even If Only YOU Want To!, Dr. Lee H Baucom shows readers how to connect with their spouses, end limiting beliefs, and build an entirely new relationship.
Before the tips, a quip: “Husbands are like fires. They go out when unattended.” ~ Zsa Zsa Gabor. There’s a lot of truth in this quip! Marriage counselor Gary M. Neuman, author of The Truth about Cheating, says that men who feel neglected are more likely to cheat on their wives. They don’t cheat because they want sex; they cheat because they need to feel connected to their wives.
Even the best marriages could use the objective eye of a good marriage counselor. Here are several ways to ensure your counseling is the best it can be.
8 Qualities of a Good Marriage Counselor
These tips for finding a good therapist focus on the therapist’s personality, demeanor, and interpersonal characteristics.
Compassionate and caring. Effective marriage therapists are compassionate, which means they can empathize with your emotional issues and marriage problems. Good counselors make you feel comfortable, and don’t judge you or make you feel worse about the reason your love relationship is faltering. Your therapist should put you at ease, and help you feel comfortable.
Emotionally stable. Just like everyone else, marriage counselors have their own struggles and stresses. Avoid a therapist who discusses his or her own problems with you! Good therapists have resolved (or at least are aware of) their emotional issues, and don’t share them with you. The can handle the stress of helping others deal with interpersonal conflict and communication breakdowns, without letting their own issues get in the way.
Introspective and self-aware. Good marriage counselors are aware of how their own culture, education, socioeconomic status, values, and religious beliefs affect their practice and interaction with their clients. A therapist must set aside his or her own personal beliefs, and help you focus on your own beliefs and values.
Strong interpersonal skills. Effective therapists are comfortable working with different types of people from all walks of life! Your marriage counselor can have introverted personality traits, but should still be comfortable interacting with you and your spouse. Good written and verbal communication skills are part of strong interpersonal skills. For instance, your therapist has to be able to explain his or her specialty so you can understand it — such as Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy.
Tolerant and open-minded. You won’t save your love relationship if you have a marriage counselor who isn’t open-minded! Look for a therapist who is open to new research and new ways of thinking that may even challenge his or her beliefs about love, emotional infidelity, or other marriage problems. A good counselor will help you feel comfortable and safe as you confide your deepest secrets and most embarrassing problems.
Patient. Effective therapists understand that significant periods of time can pass before you can make changes in your life and marriage. He or she must let you and your partner work at your own pace, and find the balance between challenging and comforting you.
Ethical, moral, and law-abiding. A good marriage counselor understand the ethics involved in working with you, knows the importance of keeping client sessions confidential. Your therapist must also understand and work within the state or provincial laws and regulations that control the industry.
A belief in continuing education. The best marriage counselors are always learning about new findings in psychological research and new ways to communicate with and help clients save their marriages. Good therapists are always brushing up on their own therapeutic skills and people skills; they’re also constantly expanding their knowledge base.
For more tips, read What to Expect From Marriage Counseling.
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Have you had a good or bad marriage counseling experience? Comments welcome below.