There are a number of factors you might want to be aware of as you search online for a couples therapist. You can use the terms “couples therapist” or “couples counseling” or “relationship counseling” and you will often get different results, but usually they will overlap each other and come up with similar results.
Realize: the few listings at the very top of the page (it varies usually between a couple to about five) are paid ads. So they are paying Google to be up at the top. In the past, paid ads were just at the side, but now they are at the top and the side.
Realize: the next batch that sometimes show up are the listings on the map, and those are not paid for, they come up by location.
Realize: the next three listings often are all the same group of therapists, they are a directory built by Psychology Today. Because it is so big, Psychology Today not only gets the top “organic” spot (that is, the first real search item rather than a paid ad) for couples counseling, couples therapy, relationship therapy, but it gets the top three spots. And therapists are paying Psychology Today $29.95 per month to be a part of the directory. So really, the therapists are advertising there too, paying to get those spots.
Realize: there are some advertising sites that warn you about couples therapists and couples counseling. They seem like another paid site that gets your attention by trying to scare you about couples therapy.
So if you want to get beyond the ads, you have to scroll down to the middle or lower part of the page, past the listings that have “psychologytoday” in the address line, to find a true search for a couples therapist or couples counselor that is not appearing in the search because they paid the most for the advertising.
Ultimately, it will behoove you to see who the couples therapist is no matter where you find him/her. What are the credentials? How much work is devoted to couples? How does the person talk about dealing with couples? And it can be a good idea to talk on the phone with the therapist for a few minutes or ask questions through their website’s encrypted email to see what you think of her/him. It is often best to pick the well qualifed, experienced person. In the end, you’ll have to go in and see what he or she can do for you and your issues.