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Research shows that, on average, couples wait six years from the onset of a problem until they seek help from a specialist. By this time, it's not uncommon for a marriage to be in crisis. For this reason, if you are seeking couples counseling, it's imperative that you find the help of a therapist who specializes in couples therapy. Often, when a therapist offers couples counseling, it is usually part of a range of other services. At NCCT, couples therapy is all that we do. We have deep expertise that comes from our focused and evidence-based approaches.
When choosing a couples therapist, you should ask the therapist several important questions. First, ask them about their training and experience. Couples therapy is considered one the most challenging types of therapy to do, and so it's imperative that you find a couples therapist who has extensive training and experience in the field. Ask the therapist what percentage of their practice is made up of marriage and couples therapy clients. Avoid therapists who mostly do individual work, as they are likely not skilled in working with couples.
Ask the therapist if they are part of a professional organization that certifies credentials in the field of marriage or couples counseling. Certification and licenses in the field of marital and couples therapy shows that the therapist has devoted his or her time towards being a seasoned and competent practitioner.
Find a therapist that utilizes an evidence-based model. There are countless approaches in the field of couples therapy, but only a handful of them have demonstrated effectiveness or long-term success. Finding a therapist who utilizes an evidence-based model can dramatically increase the chances that your couples therapy will have lasting and long-term success.
Lastly, go with your gut. It's important to find a therapist who feels like the right fit, for both you and your partner. While other therapists might meet the all the criteria that we've discussed, if they don't feel like the right match for you, there's a good chance that the therapy won't be helpful. Reputable resources for locating couples therapy specialists include: The Gottman Institute (for more information on the Gottman method), The National Registry of Marriage-Friendly Therapists, The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, and The International Centre For Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy.