By: Francine and Byron Pirola
If your marriage is in strife and you need some help, it’s important to make sure you get the right help. Unfortunately, many counsellors and therapists will accept couples for couples counselling without having any specific training. Couples therapy is a unique and one of the most difficult counselling tasks and you deserve a therapist that is fully qualified. Another common pitfall is a therapist who is ‘neutral’ towards saving the marriage. This position often comes about because counsellors are trained to not impose their values on their clients. The problem is, it’s an inhuman expectation — we all have values about marriage and we bring those values into the work we do and the conversations we have. Regrettably, many counsellors are themselves divorced and will have a bias towards marriage dissolution. If you are looking for support in rebuilding your marriage, this is not the right kind of therapist for you.
So how do you find a marriage-friendly therapist?
- Ask around for recommendations, and importantly, ask why that person is being recommended.
- Before committing to therapy, ask the counsellor some questions about his attitude to saving a marriage when there are problems, his specific training in couples therapy, what his success rate is.
- If you’re not happy with your counsellor and feel that your values are being compromised, find another one!
- Keep in mind that many marital problems can be successfully ‘treated’ with marriage education. In fact for some issues, marriage education has been shown to be more effective than counselling. For more information on whether the SmartLoving Marriage seminar would be of help to you, click here for your local contact.
For more information and suggestions, we recommend Dr Bill Doherty’s work on ‘Take back your Marriage”, Questions to Ask your Therapist, What to Look for in a Therapist.