(KUTV) Salt Lake City - Emil Harker, Marriage & Family Therapist, appeared on Fresh Living with Brooke & Kari to talk about when couples should seek therapy, how to choose a therapist, and how you can even get free therapy.
"As important as we say marriage is in our culture, we do a really bad job training for it. We don't learn about how to make great marriages. We are expected to just figure things out and make the most out of our marriages. It has been said that any two good people can create a great marriage. I don't believe this is true. Having a great marriage requires training and skill. The most important skills are how to deal with conflict. Everyone comes to a relationship with preconceived ideas of the "rules" of the relationship. Often times these rules are assumed and not communicated. Sometimes the rules are actually unreasonable. For example: "If you loved me you would know what I need."
When should you seek marriage counseling? ASAP! One of the most common statements I get from people who come to counseling is that they wish they would have done this a long time ago. The earlier you go to counseling the less it will cost and the more return on your investment. Since, no one takes marriage training classes in high school or college, and the results of not having training can make life more miserable, take time to get some training. You can even do online training like EmilsMarriageClub.com.
When seeking marriage counseling, look for someone who has a specialty in working with marriages. There are often other issues going on that causes problems in the relationship. Addiction, intimacy issues, affairs, parenting, and budget issues can make the conflict more intense. Although Social Workers and Professional Counselors have experience in working with marriages, Marriage and Family Therapists are specially trained to deal with these types of dynamics of relationships.
What questions should I ask my therapist? Ask your therapist what their theory is on helping couples change. Ask them what their experience is in working with couples that have similar problems as you. Do they focus on helping you develop the tools and skills to make their marriage better. Any therapist worth their salt should be able to answer these questions. There should be a clear strategy and a big picture framework to understand where you are in the process of therapy.
What should I do to get the most out of therapy? Come prepared with questions. Bring a note book and take notes. See if you therapist will allow you to record the therapy sessions so you can listen to them when you are not in session."
Emil has a new program called "Getting Real with Emil". "I take real couples who want to make their marriage better and show you how I help them take the normal conflict in their lives and turn it into closeness," writes Emil.
Couples can apply to get free marriage counseling by sending an email to EmilHarker@gmail.com with your contact information and that you would like to talk about getting free therapy, and Emil will call you back.
You can go to EmilHarker.com to learn more about Emil.