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Posted on 02/23/2018

What to Look For in a Good Marriage Counselor

What to Look For in a Good Marriage Counselor

Many people don’t know what to expect of a competent marriage therapist. We want to equip you with information to help you feel confident when looking for the therapist who best fits your unique situation. When making inquiries, some qualities to look for should be universal to all therapists, regardless of how they approach counseling.

Here are some qualities and actions that researchers have found to promote effective marital therapy.


  • The therapist is caring and compassionate to both of you.
  • The therapist actively tries to help your marriage and communicates hope that you solve your marital problems. This goes beyond just clarifying your problems.
  • The therapist is active in structuring the session.
  • The therapist offers reasonable and helpful perspectives to help you understand the sources of your problems.
  • The therapist challenges each of you about your contributions to the problems and about your capacity to make individual changes to resolve the problems.
  • The therapist offers specific strategies for changing your relationship, and coaches you on how to use them.
  • The therapist is alert to individual matters such as depression, alcoholism, and medical illness that might be influencing your marital problems.
  • The therapist is alert to the problem of physical abuse and assesses in individual meetings whether there is danger to one of the spouses.


  • The therapist does not take sides.
  • The therapist does not permit you and your spouse to interrupt each other, talk over each other, or speak for the other person.
  • The therapist does not let you and your spouse engage in repeated angry exchanges during the session.
  • Although the therapist may explore how your family-of-origin backgrounds influence your problems, the focus is on how to deal with your current marital problems rather than just on insight into how you developed these problems.
  • The therapist does not assume that there are certain ways that men and women should behave according to their gender in marriage.
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