Before you start marriage counseling, consider this.

You need to ask the marriage counselor you and your partner is thinking about working with a crucial question. You might be surprised by both the inquiry and the answer your prospective virtual counseling provides.

It’s a rarely spoken issue that is frequently disregarded. You won’t likely read about it because therapists leave it out of their publications on how to choose a good counselor. I’ve never heard of the matter being mentioned on the well-known daytime virtual counselingprograms that cover such a wide range of topics.

Yet, knowing the answer to this crucial question could help you avoid wasting time, money, and effort on the wrong therapy. If you’ve narrowed down your options for a marriage counselor to two or three, and all seem to have about the same level of education, training, and experience, this question is a useful one to utilize as a deciding factor.

What is the query that I believe to be so crucial that it may serve as the “deciding vote” in choosing a therapist for marriage counseling? This is it. Ask the prospective marriage counselor(s) if they have ever undergone protracted personal counseling.

Then, pay close attention to the therapist’s response and what he or she has to say. Observe the response’s emotional overtones as well. Take into consideration the following answers to the posed question. In the parenthesis, my comments are in italics:

1. “No, I’ve never been required to attend counseling.”

Do you mean to say that going to counseling is “above” you? so only those who lack your emotional stability “had” to leave? How will you ever experience what it’s like to enter an unfamiliar workplace and disclose the most private aspects of your life to a complete stranger?)

2. “Yeah, I visited when my father passed away multiple times.”

(That’s a little better, but what about all the self-improvement activities that counselors constantly encourage others to engage in? Why don’t you heed your own counsel?)

3. “No.”

(That’s strange. Why a one-word response? It makes sense to pose that question. If you’ve never sought counseling for yourself, why would I trust you with my vulnerability and something as significant as my marriage? Why didn’t you go? Do you not have faith in what you are offering?

4. “When I enrolled in my degree-related courses, I participated in some counseling.”

(You mean in some of your counseling classes, you role-played with other students; that don’t count. You weren’t actually receiving counseling, therefore your attention was likely diverted by what your professor and fellow students thought of your role-playing. That’s completely different than going to therapy and paying attention to your own genuine problems.)

5 “I have, indeed

Despite receiving extensive personal counseling for several years, I continue to see a counselor whenever new issues arise. I am aware of the fortitude and dedication required to face one’s own problems, refrain from placing blame elsewhere, and accept responsibility for the quality of one’s life.”

(This is the one, for sure! He (or she) has undergone the counseling procedure on his own. He won’t just be talking about hypothetical situations, and he doesn’t appear embarrassed by his history of therapy. Instead, he comes across as being pleased with his decision. He “practices what he preaches” in terms of therapy, which I like. He must think it makes a difference in some manner, else, he wouldn’t have invested so much time and money on his own counseling.)

Are you surprised to learn that many counselors have never sought counseling themselves or dealt with their own personal or interpersonal issues? That individuals could obtain a graduate degree and a license without having gone through personal development counseling? Although it is horrifying to consider, it does happen frequently.

I can categorically state that you should avoid counselors who haven’t conducted their own research on counseling, whether it’s individual, relationship, or marriage counseling, or both. It’s been said that you can only lead others as far as you have gone yourself.

When it comes to counseling, it is unquestionably the case. The counselor must be well-versed in the area, not just from textbook knowledge but also from personal experience. Also, he (or she) must be able to support you without letting your problems become entangled in his own unsolved problems; this is something that personal counseling can assist a counselor do more successfully.

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