Choose your marriage counsellor wisely

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By Christine Katende

Julius and Sarah got married five months ago. They were blessed to have got a good counsellor who prepared them for marriage and this was the very pastor who officiated the wedding. As they grow into the marriage, however, there might be need for a third a party to speak into their marriage life as counselling does not stop at pre-wedding preparations.
Christopher Senyimba, a relationships coach, says a marriage counsellor or therapist is meant to improve a marriage or relationship. “Depending on who approaches them; a couple or individual, that person has to work towards bringing peace and unity. Therefore, one must be keen when choosing who to approach,” he says.
Senyimba further asserts that a good counsellor focuses on conflict resolution, good communication skills, and finding better ways to improve the couple’s marriage life.
The qualities as stated by Senyimba correspond well with Brianna’s testimony. She is a mother of four who has been married for 10 years. However, when her marriage started getting bumpy, she opted to get a counsellor in a bid to bring back that spark.

Need for counselling
“At some point, my husband got bad company that led him astray. Despite having been married for seven years, our marriage did not seem to matter anymore. He stopped listening to me or anyone close to me. I was referred to a counsellor who talked to us and convinced Patrick to change,” she shares.
Reporting about the progress, Brianna says her husband has so far abandoned alcohol and comes homes earlier than before, which indicates the positive effect counselling has had.
Jonathan Okir, a marital counsellor notes that although counselling is vital in marriage, one must look out for the counsellor’s professionalism as well as their experience in the given field of concern.
Okir adds that one ought to make sure that the counsellor has a proven and workable testimony and that their passion is in seeing people’s lives change for the better. That aside, the consultation fee should be within the client’s reach.
Marriage counselling is usually a short-term span of psychotherapy, ideally giving the spouse(s) the necessary tools to work on their marriage outside of therapy, according to www.wikihow.com. Your choice of a marriage counsellor could mean the difference between a breakthrough reconciliation or a frustrating and stressful end. Therefore, learning how to evaluate and choose a marriage counsellor can help you and your partner to recover and repair.
The experts explore the different qualities you should consider when choosing a counsellor:

Professionalism
Okir says the cousellor should have studied at a recognised university with certificates that satisfy his attendance and performance.
Okir explains that the counsellor should have experience in counselling and in the particular field in which you are seeking counsel.
“When you study counselling, one majors in a particular field, so it is better to be handled by a counsellor who has majored in the area you are seeking help so that they can be competent,” he clarifies.

Exemplary
He adds that the counsellor should have a proven and workable testimony and their way of life should be commendable. They should have overcome or helped other clients overcome the same struggles you are going through, meaning they should have referrals from past clients.
Okir reveals that the counsellor’s passion should be derived from seeing lives changed. “Touching people’s lives and seeing them get better should be their driving force to work rather than money,” he states, adding, “They should be willing to counsel for free.”

Progress
Senyimba says it is important to evaluate the progress gained from the counselling. That said, the counsellor should be able to help the couple set achievable goals. Therefore, during each session, the set goals should be highlighted and it is one way to work towards achieving progress.
However, if you register no positive results in several weeks of counselling, Senyimba suggests looking for another therapist.
“A good therapist should make both parties feel respected and heard. So, it is not good if the therapist takes sides,” he highlights.

Cost
“The charge fee should be in your reach,” asserts Jonathan Okir, a marital counsellor. “Different counsellors charge different rates for their services.” However, he emphasises that the person seeking counsel should work within their budget.

Has marriage counselling been helpful?

“Yes. I learnt about the expectations and experiences I was likely to encounter in my marriage. I am now using what I was taught to handle any situation.”
Obedi Kiyaga, married
“Through counselling, I know that I did not marry an angel, as well as my roles as a father and husband. Every time I attend the sessions, I am always encouraged, challenged and inspired.”
Peterson Walube, married

“It has helped me to understand my partner better and to know that in marriage both parties have to work together and make sacrifices. I have also learnt patience.”
Jacinta Ntale Ochama, married

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