Whether for deep rooted personal issues or to save a marriage, many people at some point in their lives find that they need counselling services. Finding a counsellor who is convenient to one’s home, school or office is almost as important as assuring they are good at what they do, simply because counselling requires a number of sessions to effective. Picking a counsellor is a very personal thing too, so interviewing a number of counsellors before settling on one is important. Finding local counselling services really boils down to a couple factors:
Get referrals from various sources
While it may be difficult, asking trusted friends and family members is the best way to find a quality counsellor. If they have had to go down the counselling road themselves, they will be able to easily tell you the good and bad of counsellors they have used. For example, even if marriage counselling is not successful, the person involved will know whether the counsellor is good or not based on the experience. Another place to seek a referral is from your physician. They will have experience with other patients who have sought counselling services as well as most likely knowing some personally, whether through their practice or through networking that the counsellor has done. Finally, looking through web sites and directories of local counsellors can help at least build up a list of potential therapists and some sites even have ratings for them.
Christian Counselors in the Church - Partners in Caring
If you are having some difficulties in your marriage, or perhaps your family is in crisis, marriage and family counseling can be very beneficial. While it may initially seem a bit uncomfortable to discuss your problems with a total stranger, if you find a therapist which is a good fit and is good at what he or she does, you will very likely be glad you decided to make the investment.
Keep in mind, though, that for marriage and family counseling to be helpful, you have to be willing to make some changes in your life. It won't be helpful if you merely use it as a place to vent or if you expect the therapist to do all of the work for you. Nor will it be helpful unless you each take responsibility for your contribution to the problem or issue at hand, because rarely is a problem entirely due to one person.
Following are some of the many ways in which marriage and family counseling can help, if you are ready and willing to do some work.
Poor communication or lack of communication is often at the core of most marital problems, as well as family problems. We all grew up learning ways to communicate, but we didn't necessarily learn to do it effectively. When things are going well, talking is easy. But the true test of good communication is when there is conflict.
In marriage and family counseling, the therapist can help you find ways to communicate better with each other. This not only includes learning how to better express things such as needs, wants, or concerns, but also how to better listen to each other. Conflict is normal whenever two or more people live in the same household.
Unfortunately a lot of couples and families do not handle conflict well, and even relatively minor problems can quickly escalate. As a result they become seemingly insurmountable issues when communication completely breaks down or becomes hostile. Improving communication is the core of dealing effectively with all other issues.
Learn to choose your battles
Marriage and family counseling can also really help you learn to choose your battles. Life is going to be full of stressful and irritating things. That's normal. But where many couples and families get into trouble is when they let everything become a huge ordeal. A good therapist can help you determine what the real issues are, while helping your learn to recognize which ones really aren't a big deal. Learning this will go a long way towards a more peaceful home environment.
Create new patterns of interaction
As humans, we are creatures of habit. As a result we get into patterns of interacting with our spouse and family members which can be unhealthy. At times, they can even be destructive and hurtful. Sometimes we don't even realize the damage we are doing until someone objective, such as a therapist, points it out.
Marriage and family counseling is geared towards creating new and healthier ways of interacting with each other. As the saying goes, if you keep doing the same thing you will keep getting the same result. But a skilled therapist can show you better ways to get the desired result in your relationship.
Hopefully you can see how marriage and family counseling might be very beneficial. Every couple and family has occasional struggles. Going to a therapist doesn't mean you are weak or a failure. Rather, it shows that you recognize the need for change and that you desire some assistance in making that happen.
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In Christian homes when the husband does not assume his Spiritual Leader role a vacuum forms and often the wife is forced into being the leader. This is uncomfortable for the wife since God did not give her that responsibility. It can create a great deal of resentment in both the wife and also the husband who can interpret this as “control”.
When the wife is forced into filling this role it can often lead to being the leader in many other ways. Now there is real danger of inappropriate balance of control in the home.
In our Marriage Counseling practice we see this situation often. We are presented with couples that are not filling the roles that they were designed to fill. When we speak with the wife who is perceived as controlling by her husband, she often tells us that she would give anything to “get off the throne” and follow her husband, but he just won’t lead.
What can she do? What can he do? The first step is to understand who God has called us to be. God has called the husband to be the “servant leader” in the home, even going so far as to lay down his life for his wife and family as Christ laid down His life for the Church. We see many husbands who would step in front of a bus for their wives but neglect to protect their wives in the day to day business of life.
There may be a number of reasons why he is not “stepping up to the plate” as leader. Oftentimes we see passive men marry more outgoing and active women. The man’s passivity becomes a serious problem in these relationships. He stays in his comfort zone, not realizing or caring what this is doing to the relationship. In this case, it is important for the wife to step aside and not lead; even if things fall through the cracks. The husband cannot fill a role that is already filled. He cannot lead if she is leading. It may seem very scary, but it is absolutely necessary to let him fill the role.
It may also be that she has always felt like she is the one who should be in control, thinking her husband as incapable of leading. It is particularly important for her to turn over the reins to her husband.
Sometimes it has nothing at all to do with the wife. Some men are just so passive that it would never dawn on them to be the leader. In this case it may require counseling from your Pastor or Marriage Counseling from a Christian Marriage Counselor.
So, what should the husband do? After realizing and understanding that this is his God given role, he will need to confront the fear of operating in the unknown. His job is to make sure that he understands who is in Christ. There are many good books written on this subject. God gives us the Grace to do what He calls us to do, so the husband is able to lead.
There are practical things that a Spiritual Leader does. He makes sure that he has his own personal time with God on a daily basis. That he “talks” with God on a regular basis. This includes more than just speaking to God (what we normally call praying) but listening as well. He himself needs to be strengthened before he can successfully lead others.
He is responsible for making sure he and his wife spend joint time with God. This can include Bible Study, prayer, attending a Church that fulfills both of them and making sure the whole family is included if there are children in the home.
He is also responsible for protecting the home from any outside bad influences or spiritual attacks.
He can also see that he and his wife become active in a small group at their Church. This will help surround the couple with fellow believers who are like minded and are there for each other.
This may seem like a big job, but God never gives us a job too big for us to handle.
We pray that your marriage fulfills God’s calling and that both you and your Spouse search out what God has in store for you. If you both are close to God, you will be close to each other.