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For a family that has experienced a detrimental loss or is facing pressing issues, seeking the help of a family therapy program can be beneficial. A professional can often provide objective insight to alleviate the problems that a family is facing. When looking for a family therapy program, it's important to follow several guidelines to find the best fit. These include finding a qualified therapist, choosing an experienced professional, finding someone with direct experience in a family's problem area and choosing an affordable program.
Perhaps the most important thing to look for in a family therapy program is a therapist who is fully qualified. To ensure the best possible therapy, it's important to find someone who has formal training with a minimum of a master's degree in psychology or a related field. For families in the United States, it's ideal to find a therapist who is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Being a part of this association guarantees that the individual meets certain standards.
Choosing an experienced professional is also important. In the practice of family therapy, a family is likely to receive better care with an individual who has been practicing for a considerable amount of time as opposed to someone just starting out. While having years of experience doesn't necessarily guarantee quality therapy, it does significantly improve the chances. Consequently, it's advisable to choose a professional with a minimum of five years of experience, but having ten years or more is ideal.
Another thing to look for is someone with direct experience in a family's problem area. For example, if a family has recently experienced the death of a loved one, it's best to select a family therapy program that deals specifically with loss and grief counseling. Some therapists have a wide variety of expertise and others may only focus on particular areas. As a result, a family should inquire into a therapist's background and make sure that he has significant knowledge in the problem area before starting any sessions.
In addition, it's also crucial to choose an affordable family therapy program. Since the price of therapy sessions can differ considerably, it's advisable to check into the details of prices before making a commitment. One of the best ways to find a good deal is to contact several therapists in a family's locale and ask about costs. This method should help a family determine what an average price is. Families should also be aware that some programs are covered fully or partially by health insurance.
This might seem obvious, but it's worth noting: It's also important that you like the therapist! Remember in school, how there were some teachers you couldn't stand, but maybe other kids like them, and some you liked even though your friends didn't? Therapists are the same way - no one therapist is right for everyone.
You should feel comfortable with the person and like you are making progress. If there is a conflict in the family, the therapist should not seem to be taking sides. You might have to try out a few before you find the right one. And if the whole family is going to therapy together, it won't be much good if one person hates the therapist!