| July 16, 2012

Are you at the point in your relationship where you’re arguing more than you’re getting along? Do you find yourself fighting with your partner over the same issues, again and again, with little hope of a resolution? Is emotional communication being handled poorly? If the answers to these questions are "yes," then you may benefit from calling on a marriage counselor.

Once you’ve made the decision to seek therapy, you need to find a qualified counselor who is formally trained in relationship counseling. This means that they should either have a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT), or have been trained to work with couples through other reputable avenues.

If you are comfortable asking, inquire among friends, family and even colleagues about whether they can make a recommendation. Of course, the internet is a great resource for finding a counselor that is right for you. I recommend the official website of The American Association of Marriage for Family Therapy.

After you’ve found a counselor, what can you expect from your sessions? Therapists work in different ways depending on their approach to counseling, and some are more actively involved in the sessions than others.

My personal view, after years of working with hundreds of couples, is that the therapy should be extremely active and collaborative. It’s also important for you to feel comfortable discussing your relationship problems without fear of pain, judgment or retribution.

When searching for your counselor, it’s best to try to speak with him or her over the phone before committing. You can tell a lot about a therapist from one good phone call. Do you feel a connection with this person? Do they sound kind, compassionate and smart? Trust your judgment and intuition — a good fit is very important.