What are the important traits you need in a relationship/marriage counsellor?

9 traits of a great marriage counsellor

1. Maintain a sense of calmness in the chaos

When you first enter a counselling session, you have an established position on why the marriage is not working.

You’re going to defend it, and you’re going to be emotional about it. The same goes for your partner.

A great counsellor will establish a sense of calmness, so you can get to the root of the issues.

2. Create a team atmosphere very early in the relationship

Set a team mindset early on in the counsellor-client relationship. Thinking this way helps you put 100 percent into your sessions, which is important to moving forward.

If one person pulls their weight more than the other during these sessions, it will be clearly noticeable.

Also, using team dynamic language helps some men understand the concepts, especially if they are used to working on teams, either in sports or at work.

3. Have the ability to extract the underlying issues

When couples start meeting with a therapist, it’s usually over a specific issue — a lack of intimacy in the marriage, money issues or infidelity's.

Those sessions are usually heated discussions the counsellor will have to deal with before they get to the real issues.

A counsellor should have patience as well as the ability to extract the underlying challenges in order for the couple to work on it.

4. Restate one partner’s position so the other understands

One of the major challenges for couples is their ability to communicate. Miscommunications usually happen because one partner has trouble understanding the other, or someone misinterprets what was said.

A great marriage counsellor can communicate in such a way that helps both partners hear — and also understand — the message being said.

Your counsellor should give you the right tools and exercises to start to do this on your own, which is just as important.

5. Challenge either partner if necessary

Usually, one partner is reluctant to go to a marriage counsellor because they feel the conversations will be one-sided.

They get attacked at home, so why would they spend money to get attacked some more?

A relationship counsellor must be willing to challenge both partners for their role in the deterioration of their marriage, even if it seems one-sided. This will help even the playing field on both sides and get the more reluctant partner to open up.

6. Provide exercises to expand the conversation

Learning doesn’t just occur in the classroom, and marriage counselling is no different. In order to apply some of the things you will learn in your session, homework is crucial to moving forward.

7. Pivot when it comes naturally without forcing it

Since relationships are fluid, things can occur from session to session that can be damaging if not addressed.

When a counsellor is present in the conversation, they can pivot without forcing their agenda.

8. Help clients dig deeper

The underlying issues that are just below the surface usually involve a lot of pain and fear.

Some partners will do a lot to keep from addressing their hurt using deflecting tactics to sabotage important discussions. By not understanding and addressing the pain or fear, couples are hard-pressed to move forward.

9. Direct and cut through the noise

You don’t want your counsellor to go through the motions just to keep you on the hook. If they see that no progress is being made, the two of you need to assess your marriage — or else.

Life is too short to keep going through the motions.

After it’s all said and done, a good marriage counsellor involves a skilled individual working with two people voicing their complaints and helping them change some aspect of their behavior for the good of the team.

A great counsellor can do all of those things, and you don’t even realize they are doing it - is it time to start mending? Let's start the process now.


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