More than Couples Therapy: Family Counseling, Too

The goal of couple’s therapy is to work through challenges in life and relationships in a safe, supportive environment. Therapy is offered to individuals, families, and couples by a licensed professional. Many people turn to a therapist when they want to repair the damage that has created unhappiness in their relationship and are interested in learning strategies to maintain healthy, open communication. Therapy is effective in identifying destructive forms of communication in a way that will increase and improve intimacy. A few common reasons why people enter therapy are because of infidelity, depression, finances, children, trauma, substance abuse, anxiety, grief, and loss. Finding the right therapist can help an individual or family overcome the challenges that impacting their lives. Most times, these difficulties have a trickle-down effect and will impact the entire family. Books and articles are available to provide tips and guidance, but sometimes only a professional marriage counselor can provide the support and motivation a family needs.

Couples therapy helps people discover the emotional minefields in their relationships and adjust to the destructive reactions they face, such as anger, panic, depression, or paranoia. Many people are not conscious of their reactions and self-sabotage a relationship. A good counselor will help identify the triggers to help a couple manage stress during a crisis. In an extreme case, a marriage counselor may work with a psychiatrist to prescribe anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications to help alleviate the pain and emotions during this time.

Frequently, couples therapy can bring up feelings of resentment or discouragement in the relationship. Some spouses may feel that the therapy is a waste of time, but the therapist should continue to provide encouragement throughout the process. Couples in a marital crisis are usually unable to create solutions to their problems by themselves. The therapist is a strategist who is trained in common marital problems, such as sexual incompatibility and financial conflicts. They can help a couple restore romantic love to their marriage and help rebuild and improve the family dynamics.

To find a good couples therapist, ask your physician or health-care provider for suggestions. Referrals are the most reliable source. Friends and neighbors might be able to provide a good reference; however, this information may be difficult to obtain due to confidential nature of the couples therapy visit. It is wise to select a counselor with whom both parties are comfortable, so reach an agreement with your partner. You should be able to speak to the counselor by phone as a preliminary screening. There should not be a charge for this interview which should consist of questions about the counselor’s years of experience, credentials, and specialties. Check to see if the counselor is listening to you and if her personality meshes with yours. You will want a counselor who will offer strategies and advice, someone who will actively try to help your marriage and resolve your problems, as opposed to a counselor with a passive approach. A good marriage counselor is caring and compassionate to both parties and does not take sides. She should lead a structured session and challenge each party about their contributions to the problem and ability to change. The counselor should act as a coach and provide a helpful perspective on the source of the problem. Lastly, she should be alert to any forms of abuse, source of dependencies or mental disorders that may have an impact on the marital problems.

The cost of couple’s therapy will vary and depending on the difficulties you may face, you’ll probably want to see a counselor on a regular basis. Many HMOs offer assistance at low or no cost, however these counselors tend to be overworked and schedules fill up quickly. Some insurance carriers will not provide marriage counseling unless one party is deemed mentally incompetent. Counseling rates can vary from $45 to $200 per session, with an average fee of about $100 per visit. The average time period to resolve conflicts is one session a week for about three months.

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