For many couples, their faith is an integral part of their lives and their relationships. They may want a therapist who understands and respects their spiritual beliefs. They may want a therapist who can work within their faith as it pertains to their marriage.
Your therapist needs to have the level of expertise that your marital issues require as well as the level of comfort you need. Some licensed marriage therapists practice from a faith-based approach. The faith-based approach is more holistic, integrating faith, spirituality and theological concepts into the traditional counseling process. They use many of the same therapeutic approaches as secular counselors but faith and spirituality have a prominent role in the process.
One of the questions that is often asked is whether a couple can work with a faith-based counselor even if they do not practice the same faith or do not want a spiritually-based approach. The answer is yes. Therapists are respectful of the unique needs of each couple and can certainly work with you from a secular perspective. They are not going to try to “convert” you or force their faith on you. They are going to choose the approach that is the best fit for each couple.
Some couples are very comfortable with including their spiritual beliefs in the marriage counseling process. Other couples may not be so comfortable doing so. Still other couples may have preferences as to the therapist’s faith and compatibility.
So how can you decide if faith-based counseling is right for you? Here are a few questions to consider:
- Am I comfortable discussing my faith with a counselor?
- Is my partner comfortable with a faith-based counselor?
- How important is it that our counselor understand our faith and its importance to us?
- How important is it that the counselor practice the same faith as we do?
- Is the counselor licensed to practice marriage counseling in my state/area?
- What specific training in marriage counseling and faith-based marriage counseling does the counselor have?
At the end of the day, you and your partner have to choose a marriage counselor that “fits”. Your therapist needs to have the level of expertise that your marital issues require as well as the level of comfort you need.