Relationship, Pre-marriage, Marriage & Divorce-adjustment Counseling
Professionally licensed mental health clinicians practice under strict ethical standards and principles. These ethical guidelines cover all aspects of what happens between a person in need of care and his or her counselor. These professional "rules of the road" are designed to protect and benefit the client, assuring that all that's done is with excellence to provide the most positive outcome.
All professional therapists and counselors provide assistance to individuals or couples without discrimination on the basis of race, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, health status, religion, sexual identity, gender identity or relationship status.
Boundaries of Practice and Competence
Another key professional ethical standard includes what is called, "Scope of Practice" or "scope of competence." To assure that the client or clients receive the best possible outcome and solutions, counselors are not permitted to offer or provide diagnosis, treatment or advice that is clearly outside their areas of competence — to refrain from offering service for issues beyond their education, knowledge, training, experience, skills or expertise. To receive the resolution of problems in the shortest amount of time, clients must work with counselors or therapists who are well-trained, supervised and experienced in the specialty area best suited to meet the clients' needs. Ethically, a licensed mental health professional is not permitted to cross outside the boundaries of his or her specialty and proven area of competence. Therapists must also exercise special care to disclose to the public any areas in which they are not trained, skilled or equipped to serve clients' needs.
My Areas of Competence
In addition to my work with individuals and groups, I have been professionally trained, supervised, licensed and have experience working only with male-female couples, both prior to and after marriage. The dynamics and focused needs of same-sex couples can present issues that male-female couples do not experience or encounter, and vice versa. These issues are known as bio-psycho-social dynamics. Although such issues are not always the primary concern in therapy, the same-sex couple in need of professional counseling should receive help from those with expertise in that specialty area. Since I cannot provide the in-depth and comprehensive care same-sex couples deserve, I would not be the best "fit" or source of professional help for them. Choosing The Best Specialist for Your Relationship Issues Imagine someone visiting an eye surgeon when what they really need are eyeglasses. Or, making an appointment with a dental surgeon when what they really need is braces. Every profession has focused areas of specialization. This is particularly true in the special area that we are discussing here. Because of my lack of qualified expertise in same-sex relationship issues, I will do all that is possible to assist in making appropriate referrals so the clients receive the best possible care. Preparing for Counseling for Same-Sex Couples One therapist who specializes in work with same-sex couples offers what I think is sound advice to help them prepare for counseling with mental health professionals who offer this specialization.
Counselors Who May Be Able to Help
Although I have not personally interviewed or screened any of the following therapists, since they describe their areas of expertise to the public as being skilled in "LGBT" issues, the reader may wish to contact them with inquiries. If they do not personally work with same-sex couples' issues, they may be able to provide a trustworthy and reliable referral to a clinician who does. I offer this referral resource with no endorsement of any kind, but only as a service to the community.
What I Believe and My Work with Couples
The underlying beliefs that can influence my perceptions and work with couples in therapy include, but are not limited to, the following:
I believe, and adhere to, the truths derived from my Statement of Faith [or doctrinal statement or statement of belief], that love, love-relationships, sex and marriage were created and designed by God as precious gifts to mankind. I believe that marriage is a sacred gift, a vow and lifelong commitment before God between one man and one woman. These beliefs are based on the following truths found in the Bible, the Word of God, and are specifically referenced here:
Genesis 1:26-27 Proverbs 30:18-19 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 Genesis 2:21-24 Matthew 19:4-6 1 Corinthians 14:40 Proverbs 12:4 Ephesians 5:21-33 1 Corinthians 10:31 Proverbs 18:22 1 Peter 3:1-7 Colossians 3:23-24
For me, the final authority in all that I do rests firmly on revealed biblical truth as I understand it. I certainly would not want my values and beliefs to hinder a same-sex couple from getting the care they need. This is why I would be happy to assist in any way I can to make appropriate referrals to skilled clinicians for those needing and requesting such assistance. A Final Word to The Reader My fervent prayer for any who may read this is that they find the best professional help possible for their unique needs, and that the Lord would, in the light, lead them into all truth by the power of His Spirit. John 16:13 This should make clear, I trust, all that I believe and hold dear on this subject. All that has been said here is said in love, respect and only for the benefit of the reader and his or her partner.