Finding and choosing a marriage counselor or family therapist can be confusing and nerve-wracking. Maybe you’ve got problems in your marriage, or your family is at a loss with what to do to help a struggling child.
There are long lists of therapists, marriage counselors, psychologists, social workers, pastoral counselors…and it’s hard to sort them out. Some are qualified, and some are not. Anybody can hang up a shingle and call themselves a “counselor.” If you’re just looking for a plumber, you can ask around.
But this is your marriage and family you’re trying to help. And people are hesitant to let family or strangers know that they are in trouble.
What to do?
Start asking questions. This is your life, time and money we’re talking about, so don’t waste them. Here’s what to do:
•Interview at least 2 or 3 prospective therapists. A marriage counselor who won’t return your call promptly, and won’t give you time to ask questions on the phone will probably not be helpful to you.
•Explain what is happening in your life that concerns you. You and the potential therapist should be having a conversation, and you can get a feel for whether you would be comfortable talking to this person about the intimate parts of your life.
•Find out about their background and training. They should have at least a Master’s degree in the field they work in. They should also be licensed, and accredited by professional organizations.
•Ask questions about their specialty. Are they trained in post-Masters specialties such as marriage, families, individuals, drug and alcohol problems, trauma, abuse, child and adolescent issues or any other areas that concern you? No therapist is a one-stop shop and has skills and interest in all areas.
What’s a Marriage and Family Therapist? They are licensed marriage counselors and family therapists who are trained to look at the larger system that individuals live in. Instead of looking at the ‘planets’, they look at the “solar system” that makes up the couple or family. It’s a natural, if unfortunate, tendency to focus on the “bad” or “sick” person. But unless that person is suffering from a mental illness, the problem can only be helped by dealing with the entire system.
What’s Marriage & Family Counseling Associates? We are an affiliation of Masters-level marriage counselors and family therapists who specialize in marriage and family problems. We live and work in the Philadelphia area, and have been in practice for over 20 years. And we would like to work with you to resolve problems you may be having in your marriage, your family, or to just straighten out your life.
Insurance or self-pay? Most of our therapists will take major insurance for diagnosable mental health problems. But you may want to pay for yourself because there’s a hitch: insurance companies make a distinction between mental health issues and what they call “relational issues.” If you have a diagnosable mental illness, such as depression, bi-polar or schizophrenia, they will cover the cost of treatment, although there will still a co-pay of up to 50%.
So, if you’re trying to fix your marriage or your family or your life, and you’re not diagnosable, most insurance companies will not cover you. Which is a good thing, because when they pay, you re-pay them by surrendering your private information which winds up in their data banks, which then goes on to who-knows-where.
The privacy of your information is never revealed unless all parties to the therapy give written permission. This is required by law, and by the ethical guidelines of professional organizations.
The best part: The therapists listed below will give you a free 30 minute phone interview. You can then schedule your initial confidential appointment at no risk to you. If at the end of your phone interview,you decide that this therapist is not for you, there will no charge. In fact, we will help you find someone who may be of help and make a referral.
So click below on a marriage counselor or family therapist near you,and learn more about them.