Coaches, Counselors, Therapists, Etc.
The professionals included here were recommended by satisfied clients or people who know their satisfied clients. Listing on this page is free of charge since this website is meant purely as a public service.
We would like to include more professionals. Please contact us if you would like to recommend someone who could be helpful to singles in shidduchim or to couples contemplating marriage.
For information about the role of the different kind of practitioners and how to select a practitioner, please scroll to the bottom or click.
Which Kind of Assistance is Needed?
Dating coaches may be the first resort for singles who need to learn more about dating and building relationships. While dating coaches usually do not undergo the training involved in a degree program, they may have years of experience in helping people navigate relationships and get married. A coach who has good people skills and is familiar with the single’s social milieu may be well equipped to help singles with most dating-related issues.
If the single or the dating coach senses that there is something blocking his/her ability to date effectively, it may be time to see a trained therapist. Unlike a coach, a therapist is trained to assist with issues related to family, depression, anxiety, or past trauma. It can be damaging when people without professional qualifications treat these kinds of problems. Therapeutic counseling may help the single understand his/her challenges, cope better with issues, or even resolve problems altogether. One may need both a dating coach and a therapist, unless the therapist is familiar with the specifics of dating in the single’s social circle.
The therapist may be a social worker, a counselor, or a psychologist. These professionals usually have at least a master’s degree, possibly followed by further specialized training. The social worker or counselor license requires a person to work a few years under supervision in the chosen area and pass comprehensive examinations.
Innate talent at counseling, including good listening skills and the ability to understand people, is an important factor for successful therapy. Higher credentials (described below), especially specialized training on the post-masters level, may improve the quality of the therapy. The therapist’s approach to counseling: cognitive, humanist, or psychodynamic may suit some individuals and issues more than others. Much also depends on the rapport between the therapist and the client.
It may take a few sessions to assess whether the therapist is a good match for the client. If the match is not good, it may be a good idea to try someone else. Depending on the type of issues involved, it may take a few months until the client feels concrete signs of improvement or reduction of symptoms. If there is no sense of progress by then, perhaps the client should try a professional with a different approach.
Medical insurance may reimburse a portion of fees paid to social workers, counselors, and psychologists. Coaching is not covered by insurance. Professional therapists are allowed to collect insurance only if they are licensed for the state in which they are practicing. The amount reimbursed also depends on whether the therapist is in or out of network for one’s insurance. Sessions over the phone might not be eligible for reimbursement. Given the many factors involved, it makes sense to inquire at the outset whether and/or how much will be re-paid by one’s insurance. Keep in mind, however, that it may be extremely worthwhile to see a coach or therapist even if needing to pay the entire cost out-of-pocket.
When looking for a practitioner, it is a good idea to know the credentials or training and if they have successfully helped others in the area of dating.
Dating or life coaches may have taken a training course but it is not required. A “certified coach” has undergone training through a certified program or coaching school; these are not regulated, however, and training varies considerably.
Social workers usually have a Master’s degree which includes two years of internship experience and education beyond the Bachelor’s degree level. The first licensing level for social workers is the MSW, LSW, LMSW; the highest social work credential is the LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) or the DSW (doctorate level) which allow people to practice privately. A post master’s graduate training at an institute allows social workers to gain even more clinical experience.
The CPC (Clinical Pastoral Counselor) is a man who attended religious seminary and also has a Masters or Doctorate (PhD) in a counseling area. Rabbinical counselors do not charge for their sessions unless they work through an agency.
The LPC (licensed professional counselor) accreditation requires a master’s degree in counseling or a related field, plus supervised clinical experience, and passing a state licensing exam.
The LMFT (licensed marriage & family therapist) specializes in helping individuals or couples achieve more satisfying relationships. This may be used for pre-marital counseling. Accreditation involves a masters or doctorate degree in counseling along with supervised practice of counseling and passing an exam.
These professionals have studied at least five years beyond the bachelor’s degree. The PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) includes research and teaching along with clinical study and practice. The Psy. D. (Doctor of Psychology) emphasizes the clinical side more.
Selecting a Practitioner
Selecting an effective coach or therapist requires research. While networking among one’s peers may help singles find effective practitioners, not all singles are willing to share sensitive information. A first step is to check credentials and to speak with references. Credentials may be checked by searching the database of the state in which the therapist practices; this can be done online by accessing the state’s website. Before searching, check with the professional to find out how s/he is listed (legal name, maiden name). It is also advisable to search online to find out whether anyone has reported this practitioner for misconduct to the licensing board.
Before seeing the practitioner, one may wish to inquire about his/her schooling, training, and prior experience. It may be useful to ask about his/her therapy style: e.g. highly interactive or more focused on listening, giving advice or encouraging clients to come to their own conclusions. Personal questions about the therapist may be warranted if they give the potential client some idea about whether he/she will be understood: e.g. Are you married? How long did you date? The practitioner should be able to gently set boundaries, where needed.