Choosing The Right Couple’s Therapist.
If your relationship is in need of help then you will want to see a couple’s therapist who can assist you in whatever problem you may be dealing with. Choosing the right couple’s therapist can often be a daunting experience because there are many options available. For instance, if you search online for a couple’s therapist in Scottsdale or Phoenix there will multiple choices to choose from. How do you know which therapist to pick? This article is written to help you decipher through all the pages of couple’s and marriage therapists on the internet and choose the right therapist for your relationship.
Choices, Choices, Choices!
It can be very difficult to narrow your internet search from the vast number of couple’s therapists to a select few. To start with you should have an idea if you and your partner/spouse are more comfortable working with a male or female therapist. As someone who has worked in the field of couples therapy for 12 plus years this is often one of the first questions I am asked. Many women worry that a female couple’s therapist may “gang up” on their husband/partner or that there husband/partner may respond better to a male couple’s therapist. It is important to first discuss one another’s preference before you start your search. This will eliminate a lot of options.
Once you have decided if you are going to work with a male, female, or maybe determined the sex of the therapist does not even matter (you just want the best therapist) then it is best to research different couple’s therapy practices. Every couple’s therapist will have their theory and approach to couples therapy. For instance, there is cognitive behavioral couple’s therapy which focuses on negative thought patterns/beliefs that will help couples to change their relationship by changing their thoughts. There is the Gottman couple’s therapy which many Scottsdale and Phoenix couple’s therapists practice. This approach will help couples to improve communication, resolve conflict, and to change negative behaviors such as stonewalling or criticizing. Next there is Emotionally Focused Couple’s Therapy which is the approach I utilize in my couple’s therapy sessions. This approach focuses on helping couples to overcome negative patterns of interaction by increasing their emotional connection and closeness. As an Emotionally Focused Couple’s Therapist I help couples to communicate their attachment emotions and needs which results in higher levels of relationship satisfaction.
Now I know I am biased towards Emotionally Focused Couple’s Therapy because it is the approach I use with the couple’s I work with. You will have do your own research and determine which direction you would like to go. I do recommend that you phone interview two to three couple’s therapists once you have narrowed down your choices. You will want to ask them questions such as:
1. How long have you been working with couples doing couples therapy?
This is important because you do not want to hand your relationship to someone who has only been practicing for a couple of years unless they have done their due diligence by working hard to become competent in their work. If it is a therapist who has been in practice for a short time I think you will also want to make sure they work closely with more experienced therapists who help them in their cases.
2. What is your approach?
This is where you find out if they are a CBT couple’s therapist, EFT couple’s therapist, Gottman couple’s therapist, some other approach, or what some therapists refer to themselves as, Eclectic. What this means is that the couple’s therapist “borrows” from many different approaches. I would advise against meeting with a couple’s therapist who refers to themselves as eclectic because when a therapist does not have a comprehensive theory and model to help them in the counseling process they will often flounder. I liken it to a therapist who is “winging it,” which would not be good for you and your relationship.
3. How do you deal with…?
You will want to ask the couple’s therapist you are interviewing a few questions on how they would deal with and help you with a specific problem from your relationship. This will give you an idea of how they actually work and put into practice the theory they are using. Ultimately you will want to know that they can help your relationship. Talking theory is great but when it comes down to how the couple’s therapist can help you in you relationship is what you will want to find out.
4. Find out the couple’s therapist religious/spiritual background.
Feeling comfortable with the couple’s therapist beliefs is important to many people who are seeking couple’s therapy. It is okay to talk to the couple’s therapist about their spiritual beliefs. What I tell my clients is that all therapists have a belief system and no matter what their theory is their beliefs, biases, and personality will come out in the counseling process. It is your right as a client to know what the couple’s therapist beliefs are in advanced. Most couple’s therapists will openly talk to you and answer questions. Beware of those who do not.
5. Find out how long does the process takes, how often meetings occur, costs, etc.
There are all of the practical questions such as how many sessions, cost, frequency of meetings, etc. For example, couples who participate in Emotionally Focused Couple’s Therapy typically attend 12 to 15 sessions. It can sometimes be more or less depending on the couple and their level of distress. Couple’s therapy is an investment in your relationship and in your future so you will want to find out the costs. Just know that with relationships being the number 1 cause of a person’s happiness it is worth the investment. Finally, most session occur for 50 minutes on a weekly basis. However, there are some couple’s therapist, like the therapists at Crossroads Counseling, that offer intensive couple’s therapy session where we can meet multiple times a week, meet for longer sessions, or even for couple’s retreats.
Go With Your Gut!
Finally, you want to choose the couple’s therapist that you feel the most comfortable with and confident in. A huge factor in the success you will have in therapy is the connection you have with your therapist. If you feel relaxed, safe, and cared for by your therapist then you are more likely to open up, share, and be yourself without fear of judgement. The best couple’s therapist for you is the therapist that you like, feel safe with, and believe can help your relationship. Of course if you are reading this article then you just might be looking for a Phoenix couple’s therapist or a Scottsdale couple’s therapist. If this is you then please reach out to a Crossroads therapist. Interview us and ask us your questions in our free 20 minute phone consultation. Our phone number is 623-680-3486. Or you can visit our couples therapy page by clicking here. If you don’t feel comfortable with one of our couple’s therapists then we will help you find the right fit for you.