Maintaining a healthy and happy relationship is not always easy, especially since many of us do not have great role models, and our education did not teach us how to have mature and secure romantic relationships. As a result, our intimate partnerships tend to struggle with communication, emotional connection, eroticism, and even specific challenges such as parenting, finances, careers/dreams, cell phones, and so on.
Luckily, research highlights that couples therapy can be an effective way for lovers to decrease distress and improve relational and individual mental health. However, finding the right relationship therapist can be a daunting task, especially if you live in a large city like Seattle, WA. In this article, we'll explore some tips on how to find an effective and competent couples therapist in Seattle.
One of the best ways to find a good relationship therapist is to start with referrals and recommendations from people you trust. Ask your friends, family, or colleagues if they know of any good couples therapists in the Seattle area. You can also ask your primary care physician or clergy who may be able to recommend someone. If the person is open, ask about what the couples therapist was skilled at doing and areas of concern.
For example at Healing Moments Counseling, we have LMFTs and LMHCs. Both of these credentials can effectively treat couples with specialized training in relational therapy (see number 3).
In Washington State, there are several types of mental health professionals, each with their own specific credentials and qualifications. Here are some of the most common mental health credentials:
Requires a Doctoral Degree
Requires a Masters Degree:
Recommendation: You can verify a therapist qualifications and credentials
Before scheduling an appointment with a therapist, be sure to verify their qualifications and credentials. Check if they are licensed in the state of Washington and if they have any disciplinary actions or complaints against them. You can search the Washington State Department of Health's Provider Credential Search for this information.
If the engine of a plane is having issues, you don’t just take it to any mechanic. A lawn mower mechanic may work with engines, but does not have the specific training of a plane engine technician. The same is true for therapy. Not all therapists are trained to work with couples, so it's important to look for someone who has specialized training in couples therapy and is culturally competent.
The best way to search for these therapists online is via specific websites and organizations. Online directories such as AAMFT, Psychology Today, GoodTherapy, and TherapyDen are great resources for finding therapists in your area. You can filter by location, specialty, and insurance accepted. Be sure to read the therapist's profile and reviews from past clients to get a sense of their approach and expertise.
Additionally, there are specific organizations that train therapists how to specifically work with the challenges couples face and they each have a database for you to search for trained therapists.
There are a lot of couples therapy approaches. The more popular ones are listed below:
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy:
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) is an evidence-based approach to couples therapy that focuses on the bond between partners and aims to help them better regulate their emotions to improve the emotional connection, conflict, and sexual intimacy in their relationship.
The International Center of Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT) has a database of trained EFT therapists. The online directory is located here and allows you to search by training level.
The Gottman Method Couples Therapy:
Gottman Method Couples Therapy is an evidence-based approach to couples therapy that emphasizes the importance of building a strong friendship, enhancing communication skills, and managing conflict effectively to improve the quality of the couple's relationship.
To find a therapist who specializes in Gottman Method, use the Gottman Referral Network. The GRN allows you to search for Certification and specialized training in Marathon Therapy or Infidelity.
You will also want to make sure the therapist has training in the challenges you are facing, especially if they are affairs, addiction recovery, out of control sexual behavior or sex therapy.
Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT):
Developed by Dr. Stan Tatkin, PACT is a fusion of attachment theory, developmental neuroscience, and arousal regulation. Here is the online directory: https://thepactinstitute.wildapricot.org
The Developmental Model: Developmental Model of couples therapy is a relational approach that views the couple relationship as evolving through predictable developmental stages, with each stage presenting unique challenges and opportunities for growth. [This theory does not have a database]
The Relational Life Couples Therapy: Relational life couples therapy, created by Terry Real, is an approach that focuses on helping couples understand and change the emotional dynamics that drive their interactions, in order to build a more secure and fulfilling relationship. Here is the online directory: https://terryreal.com/therapist-map/
Healing Moments Counseling Professional Training
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy:
Gottman Method Couples Therapy:
Most therapists offer an initial consultation, which is a great opportunity to get to know them and their approach to couples therapy. During the consultation, ask about their experience working with couples similar to you, their therapy approach, and what you can expect from the therapy process.
Register for a consultation with a Healing Moments Counselor in the Seattle area here.
Ultimately, finding the right couples therapist is about finding someone you feel comfortable with and trust. If you don't feel a connection with a therapist or feel like their approach isn't a good fit for you and your partner, it's okay to keep looking until you find someone who is.
In conclusion, finding an effective and competent couples therapist in Seattle takes time and research, but it's worth the effort to find someone who can help you and your partner build a stronger and healthier relationship. By following these tips, you can find a therapist who has the experience, expertise, and approach that's right for you.
Kyle studies how partners in healthy relationships intentionally talk to each other, have passionate sex, stay emotionally connected, and the tools and perspectives that make love last. His work has been featured in dozens of major media channels including The Gottman Institute, Business Insider, U.S. News, The Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, and more.
Want help connecting with the therapist that best fits your needs?
Contact our team member, Kayla.
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