We all know divorce is painful and takes a toll on families, yet divorce continues to increase to the point where now, half of all marriages end. There are many reasons why some marriages absolutely should end. If one person in the marriage feels threatened physically, financially, or otherwise, then of course divorce can literally be a life saver, but for couples dealing with less severe issues but are still struggling to keep their union intact due to hurt feelings, a lack of communication, or lifestyle differences that seem to no longer be reconcilable, there is hope that your family can make it through all of this together.
It is hard work, and the solutions may be too difficult for each person to identify on their own. In this case, marriage counselors are a great aid to couples that are struggling but still have love for one another. Even if you go through marriage counseling and still feel that there is no saving the marriage, the counseling can help both parties heal, learn about some of their thoughts and behaviors that may have led to the divorce, and what they can do to be emotionally healthier for future relationships.
Marriage counseling (or couples therapy) is actually a form of psychotherapy that helps spouses deal with their various conflicts. With the guidance of a trained psychotherapist, you will be able to make the ultimate decision to either stay together or go your separate ways with clarity and understanding. The marriage counselor is a licensed therapist specializing in marriage and family therapy. Many of these therapists are members of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).
Most marriage counseling is done together as a couple, though there are therapy sessions for one spouse if the spouse feels it will be beneficial. Though it is referred to as marriage counseling, all kinds of couples can get it, straight, gay, married, or cohabitating.
Marriage counseling is of course used to strengthen a relationship that is experiencing some challenges, but it can also be used pre-emptively to prepare a couple for marriage. This is very important; given the high divorce rate, helping couples go into a serious commitment with some food for thought beforehand will improve the chances of that marriage surviving.
For couples in a seasoned relationship, the typical reasons to seek marriage or couples counseling are financial problems, infidelity, a lack of communication, difficulty in raising children or integrating children from other relationships into one family, and a partner placing stress on the relationship because of substance abuse issues. Marriage counseling also helps couples experiencing domestic violence, but of course, if one part of the marriage feels as though their spouse is dangerous, the police should be notified.
Your primary care physician can actually refer you to a therapist, and of course recommendations from people you know are great. Having health insurance will probably narrow down your options. If you are religious, your local house of worship can also be of help in getting you the counseling you and your spouse need.
Before Settling on a Particular Therapist, you should consider:
- What are the qualifications? What is the level of education and special training of this therapist? Are they licensed to practice family and couples therapy in the state? Is this person a member of the AAMFT?
- How do you practice your therapy? How long will our sessions be and how many do you think we will need?
- How much do you charge per session? Will my insurance cover this? Do I need to pay in full at the beginning of therapy?
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This blog post was brought to you on behalf of NYC Psychotherapist – delivering the marriage counseling NYC couples can turn to for clarity and a new way of approaching conflict.