Feb 14, 2011
1. The first thing you need to look at is the credentials of the counselor. There are three different classes of counselors:
* The first type is a Ph.D or Psy.D level counselor. These counselors have spent at least five years at graduate school and have performed a minimum of 3,000 hours of therapy while being supervised by an experienced psychologist. A person will need to have a doctoral level degree to be qualified legally as a ‘clinical psychologist’. A counselor with a Ph.D is often more academic and will often do forensic and scholarly work as well as therapy.
* Next there is M.S.W which is a Master of Social Work. Social workers can work with individuals or in institutions and are trained to apply social theory to different situations.
* Lastly, there is the M.A. or M.S. in counseling. There are often known as Marriage and Family Therapists. This type of therapist can only work in small group counseling situations or with individuals. They will have undergone two years of study and earned a degree and will have worked a minimum of 1500 hours of therapy under supervision.
A Marriage and Family Therapist (M.A. or M.S.) and Social Workers (M.S.W.) are the least expensive options for therapy and if you are claiming your marriage counseling on insurance then you will probably be directed to one of these.
2. Once you know what type of therapist you will see, you then need to find out what prices they charge. Marriage and Family Therapists tend to be the least expensive, while Clinical Psychologists are the most expensive. If you really want to save your marriage the cheapest option might not always be the best. When looking at costs, don’t just look at the cost per session but also the expected length of treatment as this can make a big difference to the overall cost.
3. Next, you will want to look at each therapists policies. You need to consider the following:
* How much do you need to pay if you miss a session?
* If you take a vacation will you still be charged for the session for that week?
* Does your therapist accept calls at home or only at the office? Do they accept calls outside of your normal session times?
* Is there another person that you can talk to in an emergency?
A good family counselor will have one goal in mind – to help you save your marriage. If you are seeing a counselor and you don’t feel that they are dedicated to helping you save your marriage then you should move on and find someone else. There are many good counselors or therapists out there that can help you save your marriage from divorce, so don’t settle for divorce before giving therapy a try.
The world has changed over the years and as such there seems to be so much more pressure financially which can take its toll on a marriage. There also seems to be more difficulties with children behavior problems these days, whether this is due to the changing roles of men and women or due to the increasing number of additives and preservatives in the foods that they eat, regardless of the cause, the behavior problems can put an incredible strain on the relationship between the parents.
These are just a couple of reasons that a marriage can begin to fail, there are many more. If you feel that your marriage could be on the rocks what can you do to help get it back on track?
Church is one institution that values marriage very highly and as such can be a great place to get help if your marriage is in trouble. You can visit a psychologist or a family therapist for marriage counseling and these can help, but they tend to take a more individualistic approach to marriage counseling. A church pastor will take a holistic approach to making a marriage work and this approach can have a much better chance of saving a marriage.
Is a pastoral counselor really any better than a secular therapist?
The problem with a secular therapist is that they have been taught to treat individual psycho-pathologies. Even counselors that specialize in marriage and family counseling don't often have many classes that deal specifically with couple's therapy. The 'individual' approach is not the approach needed to save a marriage that is a union of two people.
On the other hand, a pastoral counselor is taught to counsel couples as couples to help bring them closer together and repair any problems that have arisen in their marriage. The church believes that marriage is forever and when a couple has taken those marriage vows, a pastoral counselor will be dedicated to help save that marriage if the couple seeks their help.
There are some pastors that have formal education in counseling as many churches now offer pastoral counseling degrees. There are also many ministers who do not have a formal degree but still have taken seminars and classes on the subject.
If you are not currently a member of any church then it can be a little more difficult finding a pastoral counselor to help save your marriage. If you're marriage is struggling then you won't want to wait six months to establish a membership in a church before you can approach a paster for counseling.
If you find yourself in this situation and do not have a membership at any church, you can perhaps call some of the churches in your area and inquire about couple retreats where they may hold weekend seminars targeted to saving marriages. If you attend a seminar like this you can then build up a relationship with the pastor and can then possibly follow up with that pastor for some marriage counseling.
Couples retreats themselves can be very helpful for a troubled marriage. Couples retreats often run group sessions as well as work with couples individually and can cover a big range of different issues that couples might face.
Often the biggest problem with many relationships is a lack of communication and these couples retreats can help you work on your communication skills within your marriage. If you can improve your communication then you might find that many areas of your relationship will also improve.
There are also other issues addresses during couples retreats, such as finances, sexual relationships and child raising. By addressing all of these issues they can help you to get back on track with each area of your relationship. The hope is that when you leave a couples retreat you will be much happier and have a better understanding of each other than when you first arrived.
Marriage isn't easy and is something that often needs to be worked at. If you're marriage is having difficulties and you feel like it is falling apart, then you need to take a long look at your relationship and find the good in it and find the reasons why it is worth saving. If you need some help then visit a pastoral counselor who may be able to help you get your marriage back on track.
One of the first things you need to ask yourself, and one of the hardest things to answer honestly, is whether or not your partner really wants to be in this relationship (or at least wants to be in it badly enough to be willing to make some changes).
That may sound odd, but a lot of relationship problems start because of unrealistic expectations. It's very common that both people in the relationship won't be on the same page. One person will actually care a whole lot more about keeping things together than the other partner.
As long as the one who cares the most is willing to turn a blind eye to the indifference of their partner and carry more than their fair share of the weight in a relationship, things might go along pretty smoothly.
But sooner or later the one who is doing all the work will start to make demands on their partner and resent the lack of help they are getting.
In a lot of cases this is the point where the relationship really starts to suffer (not that it was really healthy to begin with but if one partner is getting their own way all the time at least they are happy and don't tend to rock the boat as much).
It's very important to honestly assess whether or not this is the scenario in your relationship. If it is, you might be better off just leaving and finding a true partner, otherwise you will be having to do all the work and that will get old eventually.
If you and your partner are both grown ups and able to communicate and are both willing to carry your fair share of the weight in the relationship, than you have a chance at making things work out. This is what it will take to save your relationship.
One person can not do it all on their own, it takes a partnership. Even with a partnership you may still want to find someone to help you both learn how to establish a different, and better, dynamic in your relationship.
You can opt to go to a counselor, you can find a lot of self help information online and offline, or you can just sort it out yourselves. It's up to you but as long as you are both willing to put in the time and work you can make your relationship the type that you really want.
Whenever you have two people in a relationship who are really willing to try to make changes and work together to make things better, you will almost always find that saving a relationship is possible and even likely. This is the secret: both of you have to want it and be willing to work for it.
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