Q: I would go with my spouse to marital therapy but what would people think?
Who can I trust? Wouldn’t it just open up a “can of worms” and make things worse?
A: Many years ago, Christian therapist John Trent wrote that he and his wife go see a therapist six times a year. They do this for maintenance of their marriage. You wouldn’t attempt to drive a car, Trent reasoned, for 200,000 miles without ever changing the oil. If you did, that car would surely “lock up” and would no longer work. Why do we think our marriages would be any different, or that we could always navigate tough times without any outside help?
Happy is the couple who, after going through informative premarital counseling, a celebratory wedding and honeymoon, schedule regular sessions to keep the lines of communication smooth throughout all the various stages of marriage.
Research shows that the average couple waits six years after a major problem develops before they seek professional help. Such unnecessary pain! And how much easier to heal after a short time as contrasted with years of discontent and bitterness.
Three things to know to get over the stigma sometimes associated with therapy:
– A counselor is a consultant and a coach. A counselor does not tell you what to do. You are always “the decider” regarding how many times and how often you will see your therapist.
– Cost is a factor that does not have to keep you from getting help. Ask about the availability of scholarships through your church, denomination, or para-church organization. Some counselors work on a sliding scale based on income. Recently, more counselors are accepting insurance.
– Confidentiality is guaranteed. Each state is different, but there may be licenses for pastoral counselors, marriage and family therapists, professional counselors, psychologists, and social workers. Just as a lawyer’s license depends on keeping confidentiality, so does a licensed counselor. It is protection for both you and the therapist.
To find a qualified counselor in your area who works with Kentucky Baptists, contact Peggy Berry at the Kentucky Baptist Convention state office.