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How to Rate Marriage Therapists

by Pamela Raymond
  • Overview

    Marriage counseling, a form of psychotherapy, seeks to resolve conflicts and rebuild relationships for married couples or determining if dissolving the relationship is appropriate. Often referred to as couples counseling, services are available through clinical social workers and licensed marriage and family therapists with credentials from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Primary care physicians, friends, family, health insurer, employee assistance programs or local mental health agencies can provide potential care givers but it is up to the couple to define and rate the best qualities in a potential therapist.
 
  • Step 1

    Develop a series of traits and qualities in a therapist that are a good fit for the couple seeking therapy. Discuss these traits and qualities with potential therapists either through a preliminary informational meeting or in a phone conversation. If a therapist is recommended by a previous client, a portion of this information can also be obtained through that source. Your series of questions may include the following: • What are the credentials of the therapist? • What type of training and how long has therapist been in practice? • Is therapist compassionate to both parties? • Does therapist communicate a genuine desire to solve problems? • Is therapist active in developing a program for each session? • Does therapist establish a safe environment for communication with limited tolerance for angry outbursts? • Does therapist offer reasonable goals for each session and ways to implement the goals?
  • Step 2

    Establish a system to rate a potential therapist based on allocating preference to series of qualities both parties find attractive. The easiest system would involve a point system of 1 through 5 with 1 being most desirable, 2 being desirable, 3 being neutral, 4 being not desirable and 5 being extremely undesirable.
  • Step 3

    Assess if therapists with the lowest scores could be potential service providers. Scores in conjunction with perceptions of trust,competency and interaction with the therapist can help determine the best provider. Final decisions can be influenced by available office hours, accessibility in cases of emergency and cost for services.
  • 3
  • If a therapist is a member of the AAMFT or holds a state license, check with regulatory agencies to see if any complaints have been filed against the therapist or confirm the therapist is licensed.
  • If a therapist is a member of the AAMFT or holds a state license, check with regulatory agencies to see if any complaints have been filed against the therapist or confirm the therapist is licensed.
  • USUnited States

References & Resources