Getting to Know Marriage Counseling & Couples Therapy
What are the differences between marriage counseling and couples therapy? In marriage counseling, the focus tends to focus more on the here and now. What issues are currently facing you as a couple? In couples therapy, the couple and therapist look to the past, exploring how historical patterns have lasted and how they have affected the present. Both approaches have one thing in common, however: their main goal is to improve communication in a relationship and enhance the bond between the partners involved.
When to Go to Therapy
Couples don’t always go to therapy because they are having problems. There are couples who turn to counseling as maintenance, hoping to ensure their bond stays healthy into the future. Of course, many couples do come to therapy because they are having problems. Anything from a lack of communication to infidelity can lead a couple to counseling.
Whatever your reasons are for exploring counseling, you need to be committed to the process and to the work that happens in therapy. Not only do you need to do the work in session, you may even need to work on tips and techniques at home. All this work pays off, however; only 3 percent of couples who have taken part in marriage counseling say they saw no benefits from the process.
What Leads You to Marriage Counseling
As stated above, many couples reach out for marriage counseling because they are in crisis. Events that lead to a couple seeking out help include:
- Cheating: Many couples who experience infidelity benefit from counseling. Some couples even seek out help when a partner has only considered cheating, but not actually acted on it.
- Poor or Unhealthy Communication: Unhealthy communication in a relationship, including insults, criticizing, or even not communicating at all, makes relationships very hard. A counselor can help couples work on these crucial skills.
- Separation: Counseling can help couples who are considering separation or who have already made the decision and want guidance during the process.
What to Expect in Session
If you are considering marriage counseling, you may have questions and concerns. Knowing what happens in session can help clear some things up for you.
Your first session will serve as an introduction for your counselor. Your counselor will take this time to get to know you as individuals and partners, as well as the issues that brought you to counseling. You will meet with the counselor as a couple, but the counselor may request individual discussion, as well.
After the initial session, you will begin working on identifying your triggers and stumbling blocks. Your counselor will make recommendations, and perhaps even provide you with techniques to work on and use at home.
Anyone considering marriage counseling should always remember that mental health professionals are objective. They will not take sides, and they will not pass judgment on either party. Everyone should feel welcome and safe to speak in a therapeutic space.
If you have questions about couples counseling, reach out to us today. Our counselors can walk you through your options as a couple.