8 Questions to Ask a Couples Counselor in Washington DC
Making the decision to work with a couples counselor comes with plenty of questions and uncertainty. You may feel nervous or hesitant, and it can overwhelming to determine what your needs are or what you’re looking for in a couples counselor. 8 Questions to ask a couples counselor in Washington DC
Consider the following 8 questions to help you decide which questions to ask your couples counselor:
Are you licensed?
Generally speaking, therapists are required to be licensed by the state they practice in. Or, they need to have a direct supervisor they report to if they’re in the process of licensure.
Each state varies regarding what they require for licensure, but generally, it means that the therapist has passed several standards within that state. They usually have a master’s degree, many hours working with clients, and have passed a written exam.
What kind of training do you have?
Depending on who you decide to work with, the education and training of a therapist can vary. Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT) have specialized education, training, and experience in helping couples.
Ask your potential counselor about their specific training in working with couples.
What’s your treatment orientation?
Orientation refers to the therapist’s approach, in which they utilize specific theories to understand and treat mental health conditions. Similar to education, the orientation of a therapist varies.
Since there are a variety of options, the type of therapy depends on your unique relationship. Many couples benefit from Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) or Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT).
Have you worked with couples like us before?
Experience doesn’t always define success, but the more experience a therapist has, the better prepared they’ll be to help.
If there’s an issue with addiction, for example, be sure to pick a therapist trained to treat that particular issue, since it plays a role in your relationship. The therapist should be willing to describe their experiences in working with couples in similar situations.
Once you know their therapeutic orientation and experience, you’ll have a better idea of whether or not this therapist will be a good fit.
Will the therapy be short-term or long-term?
A therapist can’t always predict how long treatment will be required because it depends on various factors.
However, they’ll have a general idea of the typical course of treatment. Brief therapy could range anywhere between 6-12 weeks, while others may take a few months.
Asking them whether your treatment will be continuous or expected to end after a certain point could help you know what to expect in the long term.
Will each person have a chance to talk and share throughout the session?
Your counselor or therapist will remain neutral throughout the process and will never take sides.
Rather than blaming one person for the problems in your relationship, your counselor will show you how both parties contribute equally to conflict.
In a safe and supportive environment, you and your partner will be able to share and say the things you’ve always wanted to. Couples counselors utilize the strengths of you and your partner to help identify specific goals and solutions.
How much does each session cost?
Therapy can be expensive, so it’s essential to know how much each session will cost from the start.
If you’re using insurance, you may want to learn what your co-pay would be. If your insurance company doesn’t cover the cost of marriage therapy, ask if the therapist is willing to offer you services on a sliding scale- or a fee based on your income.
Additionally, be sure to learn what the standard procedure is for missed or canceled appointments. Some therapists require a sufficient advance for cancellations or have no-show fees.
Finding the right therapist
It’s not always easy to find the right therapist for you and your partner; sometimes, it takes time.
At Washington Psychological Wellness, our clinicians will facilitate communication between you and your partner to uncover the roots of the conflict you’re having, help you understand each others’ feelings, and change behavior to meet each others’ needs better. Ultimately, we’ll work with you as a couple to meet your treatment goals and expectations.