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Couples Therapy - Finding the Right Help

Posted Nov 17 2009 8:32pm

More and more evidence suggests that a happy marriage or long term relationship makes us live longer, healthier lives. Yet at least half of us don't know how to make a relationship work long term.

Ironically, a lot of couples are reluctant to try therapy. Maybe it's the old stigma - therapy means I'm crazy, weak, or can't do it on my own. Maybe it's too scary to reveal how we really feel to a stranger (or to our spouse).

It can be hard to ask a friend - you might not want people to know you're having problems. Fortunately, there are a lot of resources to find help online. A few years ago, there was just psychologytoday.com. Now, there are more and more directories that help connect couples to therapists that have specialized training and experience in couples therapy.

One of these is couples-therapy-directory.com. This directory not only has listings of couples therapists, each therapist has the opportunity to submit articles about their work or the couples issues they help with.

This feature makes it easier for the public to choose a qualified couples therapist. Articles allow couples to get a feel for the therapist's style and expertise before they even pick up the phone. This is usually a lot more helpful than a typical directory profile which is usually limited.

Therapy really works - when you find the right marriage therapist or counselor. Each marriage or committed relationship is different. Each of us has different problems and different ways of coping. So it's really important to find a therapist that FITS who you are.

You can ask questions about the person's training, theory, or beliefs about relationships. But really, the best way to choose a therapist is for both of you to sit in a room with that person. Ideally, you should schedule appointments with three therapists and see who you like the best. You'd check three plumbers before hiring someone, right?

Money may also be a factor in choosing a therapist. Most insurance plans don't cover couples therapy because it's not considered "medically necessary." Ask about sliding scale fees if money is a problem. Or look for a lower fee agency. In most states, therapists must intern after getting an MA or PhD. During this phase, they may offer lower rates for therapy. Even if you pay full fee, the cost of therapy is usually a lot less than the cost of divorce.

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