5 Tips On How To Find The Right Marriage Counselor For You & Your Partner

Not all counselors are alike.

find a marriage counselor, what makes a good marriage counselor, couples therapy vs marriage counseling, types of marriage counseling

We’re often told that marriage is hard work, but no verbal warning prepares you for the experience of constant conflict with the person you chose to spend the rest of your life with. A counselor may be the best move when no amount of dedication or effort seems to be helping.

Sometimes the difficulty stems from your relationship directly. For instance, maybe one of you cheated on the other but it was a mistake worth trying to move past. Sometimes the problem isn’t with your relationship itself but rather a result of work, finances, or the death of a loved one.


RELATED: 7 Things That Get Way Better When You Go to Couples Therapy

There are a multitude of reasons you might be considering or actively seeking couples counseling. Luckily, the professionals out there are just as varied as the problems bringing in clients.


If you’re already feeling overwhelmed by the chaos in your romantic life, it might be hard to decide on a starting point. How do you find the right provider? What does your insurance cover? How long will the counseling need to last? What would you consider a successful outcome?

Only you and your partner can decide the answer to that last question, but the rest can be simplified pretty dramatically if you follow these guidelines.

RELATED: 6 Amazing Couples Therapy Exercises You Can Try At Home (And Skip The Therapist)

Below are some tips to help you find the right counselor for you and your S.O. and start off the journey through couples counseling on the right foot.  


1. Search according to insurance.

You might not know this, but many insurance websites have care provider directories in which you can locate in-network providers, from dentists to primary care physicians, and yes, therapists too. Begin your search this way and simplify the logistics of your search. This way you will eliminate an issue that could turn into an argument.

Another benefit of starting your search this way is that you’ll avoid falling in love with provider profiles only to find yourself disappointed when those providers don’t take your insurance. You’re experiencing enough stress within your rocky marriage, so why make saving it any more complicated?

2. Find the approach you need.

Next, look up provider profiles in Psychology Today’s listings. The benefit of consulting these is that providers state their approaches directly, and even introduce themselves in a summary.

Would you and your partner benefit more from a combination of individual and couples counseling? Do you a practitioner from your spiritual traditions or at least familiar with them? Are you needing an infusion of positive psychology in your relationship so that you can enjoy your present as much as your enjoy your memories? Talk through the different strategies you and your partner are willing to experiment with and strike out any counselors who don’t offer what you need.


RELATED: 5 Times Couples Counseling Is Pretty Much The Only Way To Save A Marriage

3. Get recommendations and tips.

If you know someone who has been in couples counseling, ask about their experience beyond just finding a provider. You can also find client reviews on some providers if the therapist themself is what you’re most nervous about. Otherwise, seek online support groups and personal experience articles to learn more about the therapeutic process, how you can make it work for you and your partner, and even what it can and cannot fix.

4. Manage your expectations.

You and your partner cannot go into counseling with the idea that it’s a silver bullet — it isn’t. Couples counseling is, though, a structure within which you can learn to manage conflicts, increase intimacy, and rediscover what brought you two together in the first place.

In other words, counseling is where you go to work on your relationship, with work being the operative word. You will put in effort and it will be tiring, but one way or the other it will be worth the lessons you’ll learn.


5. Narrow your selection and interview the finalists.

You’re trusting the individual you will be paying to effectively help you save your marriage or come to the decision that it’s time for a divorce after giving it the good old college try. Even after you follow all of the above steps you would still do well to meet each of the counselors in person (or via Skype, if you will be receiving counseling remotely). As with any other interpersonal interaction you, your partner, and the counselor will have a unique chemistry that will ideally encourage the therapeutic process rather than inhibiting it.

Remember that whatever the outcome will be, you are putting in all the effort you can to save your relationship right now, and you deserve to pat yourself on the back for that. Reaching out for professional assistance is a smart route to take, and the provider you encounter will undoubtedly share a wealth of information that will enhance your current relationship and your life more broadly. Go out and find your couples counselor today! 

RELATED: 4 Sad Signs Even Couples Therapy Can't Fix Your Relationship


Danielle Martin-Jensen is a writer from the Central Coast of California. She covers zodiac and astrology topics along with writing on love and relationships. Her interests include research and technology, cultural studies, psychology, and demography.