Benefits of Marriage Counselling
Marriage counselling can offer many benefits to couples.
Marriage counselling can offer any of the following benefits to couples: improved overall process that increases marital satisfaction, reduce or eliminate ineffective patterns such as predictable arguments and poor conflict resolution, increase parenting skills including typical problems with step or blended families, improve trust and confidence in the marriage, prevent divorce, increase intimacy and recover from affairs.
Normally it is very difficult for couples to create their own solutions to all of these problems, particularly as they have lost objectivity. Both partners can often be stuck with their own solution and really believe that if their partner "would only see it my way, the problem would be solved". To complicate matters more couples often receive well-intended advice from friends or family members that sometimes may be helpful but often oversimplifies the problem or may have worked for the advice given but doesn't apply to that couples unique dynamics and history.
Marriage counselling provides more objectivity based on obtaining more assessment information about the couples unique patterns and problems ensuring that the solution is based on deeper understanding of the problem and most importantly that the solution "fits" for that couple.
How Does Marriage Counselling Work?
Marriage counselling ideally is brief with the norm being between 5-10 sessions. Follow up beyond the initial sessions can be at 3 and 6-month intervals assuming progress is being maintained. In the initial one to two sessions assessment information is obtained including descriptions by both partners of current problems that brought them into counselling, (both perspectives need to be heard and explored as more frequently than not partners do not agree on the how the other describes the problem(s) in the marriage.
A brief history of both strengths and problems in the marriage is obtained in a similar way. A brief history of the respective family of origin is also completed (what patterns/expectations are couples bringing into the marriage that they learned at home, both good and not so useful).
Goals are then set collaboratively between the couple and the counsellor based on the information gathered in the assessment sessions. Both partners need to be in agreement as to what the goals of counselling are so extra care is taken to ensure that both partners are getting their needs met. Regular check-ins with both partners are conducted in each session to prevent going off track or working against one partner's expectations.
Homework is provided usually by the second session so that the couple are beginning to actually work on identified problems outside the session. In each successive session, homework is reviewed to determine what is helpful and what gains the couple made. Couples are advised that counselling is not just what takes place in the session but more importantly what they do outside the session. New skills need to be practised regularly in order to change old patterns as well as learn about obstacles that may have come up that were not discussed in the counselling session.
Cost of Marriage Counselling
The cost of marriage counselling is relatively small compared to the implications of not addressing marital problems. Unhappiness and stress take a tremendous toll on everyone in the family possibly negatively impacting work for one or both partners, social relationships, and the psychological well being of children.
A small investment in short-term counselling can turn things around for a very minimal economic investment. Contact Terry to discuss rates, availability and any other questions that may help you decide if you want to book an assessment appointment.