5 Tips for Finding a Good Counselor

Need HelpRecently I wrote a post about the unfortunate reality that counseling does not always work or improve a couple’s marriage. I believe there are reasons for this failure and I talk about them at – 7 Reasons Marriage Counseling May Fail.

But today I want to give you some insight into how to choose a good counselor so that you have a greater likelihood of success with this endeavor –

Here are five helpful strategies for finding a counselor …

  1. Ask your friends whom they would recommend. This may seem too scary for you, since it lets the “cat out of the bag” that you and your spouse are in need of professional help. However, we live in a day and age that embraces proactive measures like counseling. If you are afraid you’ll be classified as “faulty” or “inferior” to your friends simply because you need an objective professional’s help, then wake up and smell the coffee, my friend! The only one holding that stigma over your head is YOU!
  2. Ask your church for their referral list. Most, if not all, churches have lists of counselors, life-coaches and social workers that they recommend. If they are anything like my church, the list of potential counselors has been reviewed and inspected carefully before they endorse any of them. FYI – my church has a policy of interviewing potential referrals on key issues before they add anyone to their referral list. Your church may take the same serious-minded approach with their list. If they don’t, check with other churches in your area who do. Also, finding a “Christian” counselor, if you are a believer, is something I highly recommend and your church will know who those counselors/life-coaches are and where they stand on their biblical beliefs.
  3. Check out counselors and life-coach websites and blogs. Most of these kinds of professionals have both and you can follow their writings to gain a better understanding of their perspectives and approaches. This is a great way to gauge the effectiveness and truth of a potential counselor/life-coach’s perspective. And don’t forget that most life-coaches are available nationwide, since sessions are often over the phone or through Skype. I’ve had clients from all over the continental U.S. So don’t let “location” be a barrier for whom you choose.
  4. Consider scheduling one session with a counselor or life-coach. This is a great way to “test-drive” the rapport and approach of a particular counselor/life-coach. In fact, many life-coaches (myself included*) provide a free initial consultation that gives you a chance to try their services out risk-free.
  5. Go into the search/process with expectations tempered, as well as, a persevering spirit. You need to accept that fact that finding a good counselor may be a painstaking and challenging process. No counselor is perfect or free of drawbacks. Be prepared to try one, and if that counselor doesn’t meet your needs or approach things in a way that suits you and your spouse, then look for another one using the tips I offer above. Once you find the right fit, your potential for progress is greatly enhanced.

Now, to our Got Truth? Scripture memory challenge, with this week’s passage …

Joy in Trials

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” ~James 1:2-4 (NIV)

[Tweet “Join me for the Got Truth? Challenge at Messy Marriage and commit James 1:2-4 to memory!”]

[Tweet “Hide God’s word in your heart. #GotTruth? #encourageyourheart”]

Also, I’m excited to announce that the winner of Sheila Gregoire’s latest marriage book, 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage is Samantha who blogs at Square Peg, Holy God. Congrats Samantha! And thanks to everyone who participated and weighed in at my book review this past week. 🙂

What tips would you add to my list on finding a good counselor?

 

How are you doing on memorizing scripture and what hinders you in that pursuit and discipline?

 


Linking up with – Marriage Mondays, The Weekend Brew, Making Your Home SingMondays @ Soul Survival,  Sunday Stillness,  Sharing His Beauty, Spiritual Sundays, Words with Winter and  Playdates with God

*For those who might be interested in my coaching services, click on this link – Hope Renewed to find out more.

  • Good stuff, friend. Like everything else in life, ‘there’s a lid for every pot.’

    We counselors and coaches vary greatly in our training, certification, personality, people skills, style of interaction, etc. I join you in encouraging your readers to feel free to keep on looking until they know they’ve found a perfect fit. For while they’re looking for a professional relationship, it’s still a very personal connection that needs to be made in order to do great work together.

    And a good counselor and coach will not be offended at all if it’s not a match and should be more than happy to refer you to someone else that just might be that perfect fit.

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  • Mary

    This is a great list. You always provide us with such comprehensive resources. Love the verse today too. This is one that holds a special place in my heart because its message in my mom’s eulogy. I love that you are part of the Weekend whispers community. One more place that I get to see you. I’ll just need to come by your blog more often. Hugs to you friend!

  • Kelsie Kleinmeyer

    These are really great tips! Thanks for being open about this, and the fact that counseling may not always work. I think people have some wrong expectations about this.

  • I would suggest getting a referral from Focus on the Family.
    As for Scripture memory, I’ve never found anything that beats a 3×5 card in my pocket! I do like Scripture Typer, but you have to be tethered to the computer to review.

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Excellent post today, Beth.

    One thing I’d suggest is to find a counselor close to the couple’s age.Having lived through some of the transitions that happen in life herself can make the counselor that much more effective vis-a-vis insight into a couple’s ‘issues’.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2015/09/your-dying-spouse-59-slave-to-time.html

  • Rebecca Diemer-Mclellan

    Some very good information here. It is tough to chose a counselor but you have given some guidelines that are sure to get you to a good fit with who you choose.

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    One other thought – believe I’ve aired it before but it bears repeating.

    Seeing a counselor regularly should be a ‘preventative maintenance’ plan for every mariage. It shouldn’t be a 911 call.

    A counselor who’s grown to know a couple in good times is far better equipped to help them when things go wrong…and a once-every-three-months visit can be part of most budgets at the cost of, say two Starbucks lattes per week.

  • Beth, those are great tips. I worked as a counselor for many years. My husband still does marriage and family counseling. There is a difference between a counselor who is a Christian and one who counsels from a biblical or Christian world view.