Looking for the best, unbiased advice that’ll help you solve your relationship problem? Nothing beats seeking the help of the love experts. But what if the marriage counselor himself isn’t helpful at all?
When seeking marriage counseling, here are signs you’re getting help from an incompetent marriage therapist and you should find a new one.
1. Talking more than listening
You’re paying the therapist to listen to you, understand the situation, and give professional advice. You’re not there to listen to their vent, about their own experiences, or never-ending speeches out of their own opinions. If you don’t feel like you can’t express your side or you’re not being heard, that’s a red flag.
A good counselor hears you out, even if you don’t feel like talking. They’re willing to try and understand your frustration and body language.
2. Stating too many jargons
When you’re already confused with what’s going on, analyzing what a “stage 3” relationship is and what it’s got to do with you, aren’t helpful. You need a straightforward, no-nonsense piece of advice on how you can make things work.
Good marriage counselors are skilled enough to translate complex terms to points that are easier to understand. They can guide you and your partner through whatever challenges you may be facing without resorting to jargons you don’t understand.
3. Overly intellectualizing marriage and conflict
When you’re struggling to save your marriage, the last thing you need is for a person to tell you that your conflicts can be explained by some study in a psychiatric or psychological book.
The best counselors help your relationship get in touch with the respective emotions you and your spouse have – and make you understand what love has got to do with it.
4. Giving vague advice
While you don’t want counselors who make things too technical for you and your partner, you also don’t need someone who gives vague pieces of advice. If that’s the case, you may be better off saving money by venting on a radio program.
You’re in therapy because what you’re doing as a married couple and as an individual isn’t working. A marriage counselor should be able to identify the damaging behaviors or challenge your way of doing things.
5. Taking sides
If you’re in a marriage counseling session and you notice your therapist taking sides, favoring the POV of one of you over the other, or just basically projecting their personal opinions, it’s time to find a new therapist.
Resolving a marital dispute requires objectivity on their part. Good marriage counselors know that it’s important for both parties to feel underlying support. Marriage counselors are not allowed to make personal judgments.
6. Telling you they can save EVERY marriage with work
Most couples who seek counseling believe that their marriage is worth saving. While most marriages can be saved, other marriages cannot. Marriages troubled by physical and mental abuse and violence, for example, cannot and should not be saved. Saving an abusive relationship can be downright dangerous. No one, including a skilled marriage counselor, can turn things around.
7. Inserting personal opinions and experiences
If your counselor says something like, “my husband and I have never experienced what you and your partner are going through,” that’s a sign of an unreliable counselor.
Frankly, their personal opinions or anecdotes aren’t relevant to you and your marriage.
The best marriage counselors hold back expressing their personal views and experiences during a counseling session. It’s not their role to be an advocate for anything while counseling. They should talk about nothing but your relationship and their ability to help you resolve the important issues that confront you.
8. You just can’t feel a connection
It’s important to hire someone you’re comfortable sharing sentiments to. It’s the marriage therapist’s job to build a therapeutic relationship with their clients and make them feel they’re reliable and compassionate.
If you’ve seen the therapist for a few times and you can’t feel the connection due to certain red flags, find another.
9. Thinking they can do everything
A good therapist is transparent about what they can and cannot do.
If your therapist recognizes issues of mental illness, they may refer you to someone who can help – like an expert specializing in the condition. However, if the therapist claims he could handle it when he’s not qualified to do so, he’s crossing professional boundaries.
Marriage counselors have no right to be incompetent – they’re selling their expertise and their years of training as professional counselors. A counselor who uses any of these ineffective techniques can set back any relationship progress you were hopeful of making. When seeking counseling, you have every right to hear it from a trained and competent professional marriage counselor.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the writers for Relationship Room Couples Counseling, a couples psychology institution specializing in relationship counseling and therapies for couples and families. She may be hopeless romantic but she’s got some straightforward pieces of advice about love, dating, and relationships.