our everyday life

How do I Arrange Marriage Counseling?

by Judy Kilpatrick, studioD

Many couples seek marital counseling to improve communication, manage stress and resolve diverse issues. Counselors from a number of different disciplines provide marriage therapy; these include Marriage and Family Therapy, Clinical Social Work, Psychology and religion-based institutions. Do a little research to find the counselor with the right kind of training, experience and personal rapport to meet your needs.

Acquaint yourself with the counseling services available in your area. Community mental health agencies, doctors' offices and hospitals often have a list of local providers. Some states have governmental agencies, called Local Management Entities, which provide a clearinghouse of information for all mental health services available in the counties included in the LME's catchment area. Providers have to be properly credentialed for listing with an LME, so LMEs can help you identify a counselor with the expertise you want.

Interview therapists before making an appointment. Receptionists can answer basic questions, but you can ask to have the therapist call you before you make an appointment. Ask the counselor questions about credentials, experience and specialty areas. Counselors, like medical providers, treat a wide array of issues and use a variety of therapy techniques. Briefly give your reason for seeking counseling and ask about the therapist's experience in treating this type of issue.

Ask a prospective therapist for the website of their credentialing board. A therapist's license status is available for public view by the license-issuing board. The website will also provide additional information about the training and practice of professionals licensed by their board.

Schedule an appointment with your selected therapist. Ask about the length of an initial session so you can set aside enough time. Be prepared to arrive early for your appointment so you can complete paperwork beforehand.

About the Author

For Judy Kilpatrick, gardening is the best mental health therapy of all. Combining her interests in both of these fields, Kilpatrick is a professional flower grower and a practicing, licensed mental health therapist. A graduate of East Carolina University, Kilpatrick writes for national and regional publications.

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