Retrouvaille Ireland

A Lifeline for Marriages

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Counsellor and client

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Selecting a Counsellor

A counsellor may be helpful regarding special issues affecting your relationship. It is important to select a good counsellor from the many available. Some suggestions for picking a counsellor follow:

1. Get names, if possible. From people you trust, such as clergy, friends, and doctors. Word of mouth, especially from a satisfied customer, is the best way to find a qualified counsellor.

2. Get the names of two or more counsellors, if possible, so that you can make a choice.

3. Before scheduling an appointment, interview counsellors about their training, license, fees, and matters important to you (Christian values, etc.). Be certain the counsellor has experience with the specific issue you are experiencing.

4. Is the counsellor supportive of marriage? You might want to know if the counsellor is successful in his or her own marital relationship. It's important that you feel comfortable with the counsellor and feel satisfied that they accept your values, thoughts and feelings.

5. Ask if the counsellor's services are covered by your insurance policy.

6. Ask if the counsellor specialises in working with couples or does mostly individual therapy. Most counsellors will do marital therapy, but that does not mean that they are skilled in this area.

7. The counsellor must be an ally to both spouses. Both should leave the sessions feeling validated and supported.

8. What is this counsellor's average length of counselling for any client? The skill of the counsellor, your motivation, and the seriousness of the problem are factors in this, but a counsellor should be able to help you with insights and change without years of counselling.

9. What percentage of couples coming to this counsellor are able to resolve their marital differences without divorcing? Some counsellors believe they are liberating spouses by suggesting separation/divorce.

10. It's all right to schedule a single appointment with the counsellor to discuss goals for treatment before making a commitment. Discuss areas that are not negotiable for you, for example the break up of your marriage.

11. lf you want to get counselling but your spouse is unwilling, schedule an appointment and tell your spouse that you are concerned about some of the issues in your marriage and think counselling would help. Tell your spouse you would really like him/her to come with you. If he/she is unwilling, let your spouse know you will go anyway as you want to do what you can to get this situation turned around for the sake of both of you.

12. lf you seem to be getting nowhere with the counsellor, discuss this with him/her. It's okay to shop around for a new and more helpful counsellor.

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