The only preparation needed for marriage counseling is to find a therapist. You can ask your primary care doctor for a referral to a therapist. Loved ones and friends might give recommendations based on their experiences. Your health insurer, employee assistance program, clergy, or state or local mental health agencies also might offer recommendations.
Before scheduling sessions with a specific therapist, consider whether the therapist would be a good fit for you and your partner. You might ask questions like these:
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- Education and experience. What is your educational and training background? Are you licensed by the state? Are you credentialed by the AAMFT? What is your experience with my type of issue?
- Logistics. Where is your office? What are your office hours? Are you available in case of emergency?
- Treatment plan. How long is each session? How often are sessions scheduled? How many sessions should I expect to have? What is your policy on canceled sessions?
- Fees and insurance. How much do you charge for each session? Are your services covered by my health insurance plan? Will I need to pay the full fee upfront?
- Marriage and family therapist: The family-friendly mental health professionals. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. http://www.aamft.org/imis15/content/Consumer_Updates/Marriage_and_Family_Therapists.aspx. Accessed Aug. 26, 2011.
- Marital distress. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. http://www.aamft.org/iMIS15/Content/Consumer_Updates/Marital_Distress.aspx. Accessed Aug. 26, 2011.
- Domestic violence. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. http://www.aamft.org/imis15/content/Consumer_Updates/Domestic_Violence.aspx. Accessed Aug. 26, 2011.
- Marriage preparation. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. http://www.aamft.org/iMIS15/Content/Consumer_Updates/Marriage_Preparation.aspx. Accessed Aug. 26, 2011.
- Gurman AS, et al. Family therapy and couple therapy. In: Sadock BJ, et al. Kaplan & Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Wolters Kluwer Health Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005:2584.
- Moore AM, et al. The influence of professional license type on the outcome of family therapy. The American Journal of Family Therapy. 2011;39:149.