Are you thinking of divorce? Save marriage by seeing a marriage counselor. There are many therapists who say they do marriage counseling, but how do you know which ones are really good? This article will give you a checklist of things to look for in a family therapist.
First of all, you want to see what their credentials are. There are three basic classes of counselors.
The first is the Ph.D. or Psy.D. level counselor. These people went to graduate school for a minimum of five years and wrote a dissertation. In addition, they performed a minimum of 3000 hours of therapy under the supervision of an experienced psychologist. In order to legally call yourself a “clinical psychologist” the person must have a doctoral level degree. Ph.D.’s are often more academic in nature and tend to do scholarly and forensic work along with therapy.
Then there is the M.S.W. This means Master of Social Work. Social Workers are trained to apply social theory to specific situations. They can work in institutions or with individuals.
Finally, there is the M.S. or M.A. in Counseling. Often called a “Marriage and Family Therapist,” these people can only work with individuals or small groups in counseling situations. They tend to have 2 year degrees and may not have written a thesis. They have 1500 hours of therapy under supervision.
If you are using your insurance to cover your marriage counseling, your insurance company will probably direct you to an MSW or a Marriage and Family Therapist because they are less expensive.
Second, you have to determine what the price will be. Clinical psychologists tend to be the most expensive while Marriage and Family Therapists are the least expensive. Remember you are trying to stop divorce. Save marriage by finding the best fit not the most (or least) expensive professional.
Look at the per session cost as well as the overall cost for the expected length of treatment.
Often, therapists working in groups or non profit institutions will have a sliding scale fee based on a couple’s income. If you qualify, this might make counseling affordable when it otherwise might not be.
Third, you need to look at the policies the therapist has. Some of these policies include:
· What happens if you miss or cancel a session?
· Can you take a pre-planned vacation without having to pay for the session?
· Will the therapist accept calls outside of the normal session? Do they accept calls at home or just at the office?
· Is there an alternative person you can call in an emergency?
A family counselor should help you put your family back together so that you don’t have split up. Saving your marriage should be their ultimate goal. If you don’t feel that you are in synch with your counselor, move on and find someone who can keep you from divorce and save marriage.