When your relationship is just not working and you have a need for relationship counselling, then what type of therapist or counsellor should you look for?
Many people get a referral from a doctor. Doctors tend to set you on the relationship psychology path and generally refer to psychologists because they are often part of the clinic and the Medicare system. However, in general, most psychologists’ training specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, personality disorders and other mental conditions. Their speciality overall, is not couple or marriage counselling.
If you wish to get support in addressing your relationship or marriage issues then you really need an expert whose training and experience is specialised around relationship, couple and marriage work.
Six tips to consider when you search for a relationship therapist or couples counsellor:
- Check that the therapist’s qualifications are suitable and ensure they have a major in Couple or Relationship Counselling
- If you have issues concerning your children, then ensure the therapist also has experience and Qualifications in Family Therapy
- Ensure the couples’ therapist or counsellor has current registration with a relevant professional association
- Check that the couples’ or relationships counsellor is prepared and confident to work with both you and your partner at the same time, if that is your preference. That way your unhelpful communication patterns can be identified and modified more effectively
- Suitably qualified Relationships Counsellors can usually assist you with mild mental health disorders that are related to the problems in the relationship. Often, when the relationship issues are addressed and resolved then the related stress and anxiety improves
- Be prepared to make initial contact with the couples counsellor or couples psychotherapist and ask them questions regarding their training and experience. For example, Relationships Australia conducts excellent Post Graduate Specialist Couples Training courses for therapists. Graduates from there can complete additional Internships specialising in Couples Therapy. Graduates from Relationships Australia may have worked there and thereby further enhanced their relationship counselling skills
Choosing the right relationship counsellor is not easy. So if possible take your time and consider the potential couples counsellor carefully. Don’t be afraid to ring them and to ask the right questions (see above). If you get the right answers and the counsellor sounds approachable and collaborative, then you and your partner will have the best chances of success in this important and life changing process.