The first time my husband and I realized that we really needed to get some outside help with our marriage, we were lost. We had no clue where to start and what all the different titles meant: Counselor, Therapist, Psychotherapist, Coach.
Basically, all we did was google “marriage counselors’ in our local area and went to the closest we could find.
That experience was okay… then we went on to another Therapist… and then another Counselor…
And then eventually we decided that finding someone with a Baha’i perspective would be the best decision because we were tired of having to explain our values and defend the decisions that we were making based on the Baha’i Writings. We didn’t want to waste that time anymore.
So we started on the journey that you are now on.
And, I’ll be the first to admit that it was a challenging process. The Baha’i community is still relatively small and many Baha’i Counselors, Therapists and Coaches don’t put the fact that they are Baha’is on their websites!
So, before I continue, I want to share the most comprehensive list of Baha’i marriage professionals which has been compiled by my good friend, Susanne Alexander (and a huge thank-you to her for this service).
What’s the difference between a Baha’i Counselor, Therapist and Coach?
While there are many differences in length of training and approaches to diagnosing and healing, I want to give you the simplified version just based on my personal experience.
Counselors are more commonly found and while they have less training than a psychotherapist, that doesn’t necessarily determine their effectiveness. For those of you with an extended health care plan (at least in Canada), they will usually only cover a Psychotherapist which are usually much more expensive.
Counselors and Therapists will usually look at your past to determine why you have arrived where you are now. They are excellent at helping you determine the “why” of your current situation.
Coaching, on the other hand, takes you where are now, helps you determine where you want to be and supports you to take steps in that direction. It usually involves a lot of learning new skills and tools as well.
Of course, it’s not so black-and-white like that but you get the idea!
For our marriage, the combination of 1-1 support and education worked the best.
What we found was that massive change can happen from simply reading a book, attending a workshop or even watching a youtube video! Because we normally never receive relationship education through traditional schooling, at home or even within the Baha’i community, we are seriously lacking in just the basics.
But then once you read the book (or whatever you did), usually you hit some road-blocks in trying to implement your new-found information. When you are reading, watching or listening- it all makes sense, you’re feeling excited and hopeful and then… real life happens!
Which is why some 1-1 support is needed. Otherwise, the valuable education that you just discovered has the potential to just be lost…
And that’s why when I reflected on how I was working with the couples in my coaching practice, I decided to create a program that combined the three essential elements of success: education, 1-1 support AND self-reflection.
Don’t stop trying to find support for your marriage- regardless of where it comes from.
The truth is that every marriage professional, regardless of their title or if they were a Baha’i or not, helped us take one step further towards where we are today. And we still seek help as new issues pop up or we need a refresher.
Unfortunately, I hear individuals and couples sometimes say that they tried Therapy before and it didn’t work so they weren’t going to try again. This is incredibly frustrating to me because each marriage professional is going to have a different personality, approach and tools in their toolbox.
So please persist until you find the right person, program, book, workshop, youtube video to help you move a step forward in your marriage!