Once you have decided that your marriage is in trouble and you need the help of a marriage counselor your next step is to find one. You may have decided to take recourse to seeking professional help for a variety of reasons. Based on your reason you have to find a marriage counselor who is qualified to help you, and better yet, if he/she specializes in a certain area of marriage enrichment.
TIP: Find out how you can save your marriage without a marriage counselor and stay together forever.
You could start your search by skimming through the yellow pages. The list would be vast and you would have to narrow your search to decide on a suitable marriage counselor.
Alternatively, you could try asking your family doctor for a referral to a good marriage counselor. Generally physicians are often asked for this kind of advice and seem to be well informed on this topic.
But the best source of information is a close friend, acquaintance or relative who can provide you with a reference. If you are aware, or they have previously divulged to you, that they have sought help, ask them for how satisfactory they have found the counseling and whether they would recommend the marriage counselor. If you feel they might not be forthcoming about the details, keep it impersonal. Tell them that you have a friend who is having marriage trouble and would like to see a counselor. Ask them if they are aware of anybody who has been helped by a particular counselor.
You could also visit the National Board for Certified Counselors which is an online service that assists you in locating a counselor certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors. You may choose a link to any of the six choices of certified counselors listed and send an e-mail message to request a counselor of your choice or request a directory of National Certified Counselors to be mailed to you.
Once again you will have a long list of counselors but no idea of who is suitable for you.
There are some things you might want to consider to help you narrow down your search before you zero in on a marriage counselor who best suits your needs.
As you may require more sessions initially, maybe even once a week, it will make it easier on both you and your spouse if the marriage counselor is located at a convenient place. Especially if your spouse is against it and hasn't totally come around to the idea of counseling, and you are the one doing all the ground work, you will have less to hear if he doesn't have to travel an inordinate amount back and forth to 'be subjected to the third degree' as he might put it.
If you are having a serious problem, which is normally the case when couples seek counseling, you will require a marriage counselor who can see you at short notice or even greater frequency, especially in the early days of counseling. If you have found a highly popular counselor, while he might be very good at what he does, chances are he's too busy to see you when you really need to, or that he rushes through sessions and doesn't give you enough personal attention. Choose somebody with whom you can be assured of time and attention. This is something you will not be able to gauge unless you ask around a bit.
Again this is something you will have to do some research on. Find somebody who has at least a few years of counseling under his belt. Only somebody mature who has dealt with a variety of marital problems through years of experience can offer you valuable experiential advice.
4. Credentials and qualifications
There are many quacks masquerading under the guise of qualified professionals. You will have to check out his background and professional standing thoroughly before you commit to therapy.
5. Comfort level
This is something that you will not be able to decide on till you actually meet, or if it is allowed, have a preliminary interview with the marriage counselor. Despite all the experience and qualifications, you have to feel an instinctive urge to be able to confide and talk about your problems. There are some counselors who are very clinical and detached and still do a good job. But there are some individuals who feel the need to establish a rapport with their counselor before bringing themselves to relating intimate details of their lives.
Remember that if your spouse has agreed to be a participant or both of you have actively sought help; you should both feel at ease with the counselor you decide on. After all, his primary aim is to help resolve your differences, and help you both arrive at mutually satisfactory solutions.