We Know: All About Marriage Counseling

What Is Marriage Counseling?
Sometimes when a relationship is having trouble, the two parties involved can't communicate with one another effectively anymore. This state of affairs is the most common reason for relationships falling apart, with their ensuing tragedies.

Marriage counselors help partners re-establish their communications, usually by talking through their troubles in a non-threatening and neutral place with the counselor acting as a facilitator. Marriage counselors work with married couples, informal long-term relationships, and even gay and nontraditional group relationships.

In addition, marriage counselors are often recommended for young people getting ready to enter a marital commitment. For some religions like Catholicism, it's often required.

Why Do I Need A Marriage Counselor?
There are several reasons you may need a marriage counselor:

  • You and your partner are preparing for a change in the level of commitment, such as marriage.
  • You have a damaged relationship, but you still love one another and want to repair the commitment.
  • You do not want to retain the commitment forever (due to not being in love, etc.), but for other reasons, like kids, you want to be able to live together amicably.

There are literally dozens of other reasons you may need a marriage counselor, but it comes down to the need for his or her services to keep a relationship together for a long period of time.

How Can I Find A Good Marriage Counselor?
In most states, marriage counseling is a licensed specialty practiced by professional therapists with either a psychology or social work degree. You can find a good marriage counselor by calling your local psychiatric licensing board, which you can find by calling the health department, asking friends who have used a counselor, asking your pastor or priest, or calling your county or city health department and asking for a list of family therapists.

You don't have to take the first marriage counselor presented to you. In your first meeting, ask how he or she counsels, what you can expect, and whether they have had success with other couples in your situation.

The most critical item, though, is that both (or all) parties involved must feel comfortable with the marriage counselor. The counselor is going to help you rebuild your trust in one another, and that can only be done if you also trust the marriage counselor.


What Else Should I Know?
Marriage counseling does not require a medical degree; no one providing marriage counseling should prescribe drugs of any sort. However, most marriage counselors are licensed, certified or have a degree in counseling. If one of the clients requires further psychiatric treatment, the therapist will provide him or her with a referral to a qualified professional; a marriage counselor should only counsel parties involved about their marriage, never individual problems.

Marriage counseling can also be expensive, though not as expensive as a divorce might prove. You should check with your health insurance to see if they will cover part or all of your counseling. If you attend a church, your pastor may be able to help you find a church-sponsored marriage counselor at low or no cost.

You should also remember that not all relationships are salvageable. If you hate each other, it's probably not going to change just because you're going through therapy, though you may learn to live with one another.

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