By LEENA KOLLAR

No relationship is perfect. And that’s why it shouldn’t be taboo to talk about going to a marriage counselor. It doesn’t necessarily mean your marriage is in trouble. It could just mean that there are problems in your relationship, like poor communication, that you need professional help to work out. But before you set an appointment with a marriage counselor, ask yourself these important questions:

Do We Want a Male or Female Counselor?

For some couples, a woman counselor is a better choice and for others, a man is preferred. Men tend to take a more straightforward approach to therapy, whereas women like to nurture their clients. Think about which is more important, and which you and your spouse feel most comfortable with. Some women choose a male therapist because it makes their husbands feel less judged, but it really depends on each couple’s needs.

Does the Counselor Have a Specialty?

Some counselors specialize in certain types of counseling. Whether it’s dealing with issues about anxiety, focusing on couples therapy or dealing with youth, check with any prospective counselors about any specialized training they might have. This will help you identify a counselor who can best help you sort through your problems.

Do My Spouse And I Vibe With the Counselor?

You won’t know how you and your spouse click with your counselor until after a session or two. It’s important that you both feel comfortable with your counselor and that you trust the person. If anything feels “off” about the counselor you choose, or your spouse has a strange feeling about them, consider finding someone who makes your counseling easier to enjoy. Likewise, hold onto a counselor who you and your spouse both feel comfortable confiding in.

Should the Counselor be Located Nearby?

Sometimes the best counselor might be located further out than you’d like. Depending on your requirements, insurance and needs, you might have to drive a ways out to meet with your counselor. Decide how far is too far before selecting a counselor. In most cases, weekly meetings or biweekly meetings will be requested, so keep that in mind.

Can We Afford This Counselor?

Most counseling services are covered, at least partly, by insurance. But not every counselor accepts insurance. You might also find a counselor that is out of network, costing more than an in network counselor would. Make sure whoever you choose offers services that fit your budget. Ask about how payments work so you’ll know whether you’re expected to pay at each session, or send in your payment with a bill each month.

Does the Counselor Share Our Values?

Just as some counselors specialize in certain types of therapy, some also cater to certain demographics. For example, you can often find Christian counselors who integrate religious and spiritual practices into their counseling sessions. You might also find someone who speaks a second language, or shares a certain heritage with you. The more connected you feel to your counselor, the better. You want someone who will help you stay true to yourself and won’t ask you to compromise your values.

What Approach Does the Counselor Use For Therapy?

The way each counselor approaches therapy will vary. Some were trained to use certain methods and others do things a different way. Some counselors prefer to do more talking and others like to listen to their clients vent. Most counselors are happy to answer questions about their approach prior to setting up an appointment. Just call or email them to discuss their background, training and methods to see if they are a good fit.

 

Leena Kollar is a writer, wife, mom and fashion blogger. She runs the women’s style website, The Style Spectrum, which guides women on finding the best clothing, makeup and accessories for their body shape, face shape and individual seasonal coloring. The overwhelmed mother of two (three, if you include her husband) enjoys solo trips to Target, audience-free trips to the bathroom and sneaking treats after her kids have gone to bed.