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Learn about the different types of marriage counseling, relationship therapy and which might prove helpful for your situation.

Marriage or relationship counseling helps couples to rediscover themselves and their feelings for each other. Many marriage counselors suggest that it can take at least 12 sessions (1 a week for 3 months) before a relationship can get back on track. Keep in mind though, it could take longer depending on how difficult the problems experienced by the couple are and their ability to deal with them effectively.

If you are experiencing problems in your relationship that you haven't been able to solve on your own, then it may be time to turn to outside help.   There are several different types of relationship therapy which may be beneficial.

Family counseling or therapy may help to promote better relationships and understanding within a family. It may be incident specific, as for example family counseling during a divorce. Family counseling often occurs with all members of the family unit present. The therapist observes interactions between family members and also observes the perception of non-interacting family members. Thus, if two family members get into an argument in a session, the therapist might want to know how the other family members are dealing with the disagreement or the way in which the two fighting members comport themselves.   Family counseling often teaches family members new and more positive ways to communicate to replace old, negative communication patterns.

Couples counseling involves the couple directly. Couple's counseling is based on the premise that individuals and their problems are best handled within the context of the couple's relationship. Couples therapy or couple's counseling is a useful method to help couples who are experiencing difficulties such as repetitive arguments, feelings of distance or emptiness in the relationship, pervasive feelings of anger, resentment and or dissatisfaction or lack of interest in affection or in a physical relationship with one another.

At times, the therapist may resort to individual counseling if one partner has difficulty communicating honestly when the other partner is in the room.


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Group counseling can be used in combination with individual and couple's therapy. In group counseling, the couple individually, as well as together, are grouped with others facing similar problems. There are various group discussions as well as lectures or workshops dealing with communication, how to fight fairly, dealing with feelings of anger or rejection, etc. This helps the couple not only express their own problems in front of others, but it also lets them know they are not the only ones dealing with relationship or marriage problems. The work of a marriage or relationship counselor is usually to help the couple communicate and develop, understand and reignite feelings for each other. The therapist helps the couple to explore ways to stay together in a positive and fulfilling manner. Finally, if all of this does not work and the couple cannot manage to solve their problems, the counselor can help them to have a reasonable and civil separation.

With the aid of a qualified clinician, couples can bring peace, stability and communication back into their relationship thus affecting their lives and the lives of those most impacted by them and their relationship.

Sources:

  • Center for Addiction and Mental Health. Couple therapy: Factors influencing a couple's relationship.
  • Misty Will, MSW, The Effectiveness of Couples Counseling

next: What is Marriage Counseling? Who's It For? And How Does Marriage Counseling Work?