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Who’s the Best Marriage Counselor in Baltimore?

Who’s the Best Marriage Counselor in Baltimore?

Posted on March 14th, 2024 by Raffi Bilek, LCSW-C

I know, I know – the title of this post makes it sound like a shameless plug for the Baltimore Therapy Center. It’s actually not, though – keep reading!

Often people looking for marriage counseling will type in just that – “best marriage counselor Baltimore” or something similar – hoping to find the one best person who can help them.

The truth is, there is no “best.”

The best marriage counselor is the one who fits your needs and uses an approach that speaks to you. Marriage counseling is a diverse field. You won’t find one person who’s “the best” or one therapist who is the right choice for everyone.

therapists taking notes

Couples therapy is not like basketball, where you can count up the number of points scored and rank players in order. There are other people involved in the outcome here besides the player.

The therapist isn’t even the main player in this arena; therapists are the coaches and guides, not the stars of the show. You’re the star! And ultimately, the therapist is not responsible for the couple’s success – you are.

That’s not to say that there aren’t good therapists and bad therapists out there – there are. But it’s kind of like asking who’s the best band – it depends an awful lot on personal taste. Some people like country, others like punk rock. (Personally, I actually kind of like both.) And they would probably not agree on who the “best” is.

Likewise, there are marriage counselors who practice EFT and others who use the Gottman method. There’s IBCT and PACT and Imago and RE therapy. Many marriage counselors draw from multiple approaches. Which one is the best? They’re all the best. Meaning they all work well – different strokes for different folks.

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The Most Important Factor in Marriage Counseling

So if all the options are equally good, how do you choose?

First, you have to know what makes or breaks a good therapeutic process. Research has consistently shown that the single most important factor in successful outcomes is the relationship the client has with the therapist.

The modality used doesn’t matter as much, years of experience don’t matter as much, and the number of social media followers certainly doesn’t matter as much.

What matters is whether you connect with them. And that’s very much a personal thing (much like country vs. punk rock).

Modality Doesn’t Matter?

does modality in marriage counselling matter

Does that mean it doesn’t matter which approach they use?

Well, not exactly.

Whatever flavor of marriage counseling you’re getting, it has to make sense to you. For example, Imago therapy has a psychodynamic bent to it, meaning that it ascribes a large role to the unconscious. The belief is that people often subconsciously choose a partner who reminds them of their parents/early caretakers.

I am not discussing whether that is or is not, in fact, the case. My point is that some people really don’t jibe with that idea. If you are such a person, Imago might not be for you. On the other hand, if that approach does resonate with you, it could be a great fit.

Similarly, EFT is based on attachment theory. Some people find that really speaks to them; personally, it’s not really my bag. I fully acknowledge that it’s well-supported by research and I’m not saying EFT as an approach doesn’t work (it does!). It’s just not my style.

(If you’re wondering, I am more eclectic in my approach – I take good ideas from various modalities – but what I do looks most like Relationship Enhancement Therapy.)

Enhance Your Relationship!

This doesn’t mean that anything goes. A faith-based counselor who just tells clients to trust God and everything will work out probably isn’t helping much (though serious faith-based approaches can certainly work).

Likewise, if your couples counselor breaks out the foam bats in your first session, you may want to scram – the “let your anger out by expressing it freely” theory has been shown to increase rather than decrease feelings of anger.

So What Should You Search For?

couples listening to best marriage counselor baltimore

So if you’re not supposed to look for the “best marriage counselor in Baltimore,” what are you supposed to look for?

The aim is not to find the best marriage counselor but to find the right one for you.

There’s no one answer to this. You can certainly read up on the different options out there (here’s one non-comprehensive list of couples counseling modalities). That can be helpful, but it can also be a little overwhelming, especially if you’re not in the counseling field yourself.

Check out this post on finding the right marriage counselor, which will point you in the right direction. But remember that at the end of the day, the most critical factor is personal connection.

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The Bottom Line?

You’ve got to try them out to see if it’s a fit.

That might mean trying a session or two to see how you feel about working with them and using their approach. Even just talking with them on the phone for a few minutes can help you get a feel for whether they might be a good fit. (That’s why many practices, including ours, offer a free consultation for people to connect with a therapist and see how they feel about them. That’s a great opportunity to take advantage of.)

So, who’s the best marriage counselor in Baltimore?

The best marriage counselor is the one that helps you make your marriage better. Yes, we’re good at that (feel free to reach out and give us a shot). But we’re certainly not the only game in town, and the most important thing is that you take care of your marriage and find someone you believe can give you the help you need.