How to Find a Good Marriage Counselor

marriage counselingIf there’s one mistake that couples make too often, it’s not finding a good marriage counselor. No, not all marriage counselors are created equal. Not even marriage counselors with the same training are created equal. So if you’re a couple and are looking for a good marriage counselor here are some tips to help you find a good marriage counselor that’s right for you. Below are three simple but crucial things to look for in a good therapist. Take notes because these are things you’ll want to ask them about on the phone, too

3)  How much do you charge and what are your hours?

This may seem like a no brainer but I can’t tell you how many times I schedule an appointment on the phone and when the couple comes in they feel shocked and/or decieved that I don’t accept their insurance. Even though I explain to them that all this information is posted on my website ( some are still shocked because they just didn’t know. This is unfortunate because it often leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of the couple and taints their views about therapy. Even though you might feel cheap asking for the therapists’ rate over the phone, you’re really doing both you and the therapist a favor to get this out of the way first thing – before you make a trip to their office.

Also, after the first session when it comes time to reschedule they state that they are not able to see me during my regular business hours and that they had to alter their schedule to come see me today. This is unfortunate because the first session is always the toughest session. It’s a lot of get-to-know-you, a lot of paperwork and it’s really exhausting for clients to expose a lot of their marital problems to a stranger. To have to go through this a second time with another therapist just because of a schedule conflict is especially difficult. Do yourself a favor and do your homework beforehand. Ask the therapist on the phone what their rates and what their hours are.

2) How much experience do you have working with couples with our specific problem?

marriage counsleingThis one will require you to give a little bit of explanation but a good marriage counselor will usually ask over the phone for you to give a brief description of what you’re coming in for so that they can come prepared to the first session. The reason you want to ask this question is because each marriage is unique and you may have a unique difficulty which the therapist hasn’t seen much. This will ensure that you’re getting a counselor who is well familiar with your specific difficulties. Even if your problem isn’t all that unique (like sexual difficulties, or an affair) you’d be surprised how many self-proclaimed marriage counselors haven’t worked much with these common things.

“Not all Marriage Counselors are Created Equal”. 


1) Are you a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist?

successful marriage counselingThis may seem like a no brainer but you’d be surprised. There are lots of different kinds of therapists who went to all sorts of different kinds of schools and had all sorts of different kinds of training. Just like you look at a physicians’ credentials before you choose a doctor, you’ll want to look at your therapists’ credentials. Some self-proclaimed marriage counselors are actually licensed and did most of their training in other things like drug and alcohol counseling or are even psychologists trained to work mostly with individuals. Research shows that on average, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists receive 16 times more marriage and family therapy experience and 3 times more marriage and family specific education. So if you get a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, you know you’re getting someone who knows a lot about working with marriages.

These are just three simple but important things that will help you find a good marriage counselor that’s right for you. Remember, don’t be afraid to ask questions over the phone and also don’t be afraid to tell the therapist that you would like to call to other places if you feel like the therapist you’re talking to just isn’t clicking with you. Research shows that one of the most important things that drives therapeutic change is your relationship with the therapist. So if you’re not feeling a connection with your therapist then don’t try to force it. It’s embarrassing to have to call a counselor and explain your situation but asking these questions may help you ensure that you’ll only have to do it once.

17 Responses to How to Find a Good Marriage Counselor

  1. From what I hear just like you find a good doctor, by trial and error. Be sure to ask a lot of questions of him/her. Interview them on the first visit before you even state your problem.

  2. I agree that you would want to find a licenced marriage therapist when looking for a counselor. I would imagine that someone with licensing and experience would be better adapted to handle your problems. This would allow you to find someone who will mesh well with you as well.

  3. I agree that it’s important to find out if the marriage counselor you are looking for has worked with other couples with the same issues you are facing. It only makes sense that you and your significant other see a counselor that will know how to address the issues you are both dealing with. These are great questions to keep in mind in the case that my husband and I find ourselves needing a marriage counselor.

  4. My sister and her husband are having some serious marital issues. They are currently looking into finding a marriage counselor, but I want to help my sister find the best counselor possible. As you said, it’s important to ask how much experience a counselor has working with couples in order to determine their qualification. I will be sure to share these tips with my sister. Thanks for sharing!

  5. My brother has been having issues within his marriage and has wondered if counseling may help. You wrote that you should look for a counselor or therapist that has experience and specializes in the type of issues you are looking to address. My brother needs help with his relationship, so if he were to work with someone who went to school for just that they would likely be well informed on how to help resolve those issues. Thanks for the great read.

  6. I didn’t realize how important it is to choose a marriage counselor that is licensed to ensure they have the education needed to help you. My wife and I have been arguing a lot lately. Hopefully, we can use this info to find an expert that can help us get along better at home.

  7. There’s always a bit of preparation involved with finding any kind of counselor, but marriage counseling is a little more complicated in that it requires two people to agree upon the date, person, and method. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  8. A friend of mine is having some issues with his wife, and they were thinking about going to counseling to fix things. I love that you say to make sure that the person you are talking to is licensed and certified. It would also be interesting to find out where they received their training.

  9. Making sure that schedules line up is so important. My husband and I both work and have moved to a new area and will be looking for a counselor shortly. Thank you for this tip so that we can choose the best fit for needs.

  10. My wife and I have hit a rough patch in our marriage but we’re both very willing to work things out and we’re wanting to make sure we can get everything taken care of before it becomes a larger problem. I liked that you had mentioned that when it comes to looking for a marriage counselor that it can be important to talk with them about how many other couples they’ve dealt with that have similar problems. Once we start looking for a marriage counselor, we’ll be making sure we can find one that has helped couples that were dealing with similar problems that my wife and I have been going through.

  11. My wife and I are having a difficult time communicating our thoughts and ideas to each other. We are thinking that we should find a marriage counselor that can help us out with our position. Thanks for the tip to check to see if a counselor has experience with our kind of case before we start meeting with them.

  12. I appreciate that you say when looking for a marriage therapist you should find out about what they charge and what their hours are. This will be important for my sister because she and her husband are looking for a therapist but they both work full time, so they need to find a therapist who can work around their schedule. Also, it makes sense that you should find out how much experience they have working with couples and couples who had similar problems.

  13. It really helped when you said that a good counselor should be experienced since it will give you peace of mind that they already have handled different situation. As you mentioned, each marriage or issue is different. I will share this information with my best friend to help them hire an expert and save their marriage. It appears that they have become cold since they had a big fight over their finances.

  14. My wife and I have been thinking of using counseling to help us improve our marriage. I thought it was helpful to know that I should take plenty of time researching a therapist since finding the right therapist is important. I’ll be sure to keep this in mind since I want to have the best results possible from our sessions.

  15. My best friend is having a rough time getting along with her husband, so I’m happy that I found this article. When she starts looking for a marriage counselor, I will remind her to ask if look for a marriage counselor, rather than a regular counselor. It makes sense that someone who is licensed has a lot more experience and can help you in the long run.

  16. I like that you point out that you should ask how much experience they have with dealing with couples with your same issue. My husband and I have been fighting a lot lately and we are wanting to get some couples counseling. I’ll have to do some research and find the best counselor in our area.

  17. One of the things that caught my attention in the article is the fact that when looking for a marriage counselor, finding one with a sufficient level of experience that can handle the potential problems that you’re having, since not all marriage counselors can cover the problem that you might bring forward to the table like possible sexual difficulties or the fact that there’s an affair going on. Another thing to take note of is the fact that one should be direct to the point when it comes to asking about rates and what times does the marriage counselor operate on so that they can accommodate your appointments on their schedule. If I had the chance to work as a marriage counselor I would have to mentally brace myself since that’s a lot of marital problems I would be facing across different clients.

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