Relationship counseling, also known as Couples therapy and marriage counseling, helps couples work through their specific relationship issues. It is led by licensed professionals — often licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) — who are experts in their field and best-equipped to help couples. Some examples of common focuses within relationship counseling include:
- Trust issues
- Opposing values
- Different visions for the future
- Disagreements in parenting
- Lack of trust
- Financial distress
- Sex issues
Relationship counseling works by helping couples identify and better navigate their unique challenges. Following an initial assessment of the couple in terms of strengths and needs, the therapist would then discuss their therapeutic goals and any possible approaches or ways of working together as therapist and couple.
Couples attend sessions together, whether they meet in person or by video. In addition to regular couples therapy sessions, each partner may also be asked to attend a few individual sessions to supplement their progress. This will allow their counselor to get to know each individual better, assess each of their personal needs, and develop the very best treatment plan moving forward.
On average, couples attend relationship counseling for 12 weeks. However, relationship counseling may last longer or shorter, dependent on the couples' needs, the challenges they'd like to work through, and the pace of their progress.
The line between conflicts that can be dealt with privately by couples and those that need professional support is often hard to draw. Many people feel that couples or marriage counseling is a last-ditch solution for couples facing divorce and separation. Many couples hold a belief that when one decides to attend couples or marriage therapy it is a signal that the end of a relationship is near. This belief surely feeds into the fact that a large percentage of couples refuse to obtain professional help and instead continue to exist in conflicted relationships.
It is important to note that many partners do choose to participate in marriage and couples counseling, frequently couples do so purely to improve their relationship. That said, therapy can’t always fix all of the relationship problems, but it is without a doubt a step forward and proof that you and your partner want to work together towards a happier future. If you’d like to pursue marriage counseling, consider reaching out to Thriveworks Counseling in Portland, ME.
Is It Time To Seek Marital Help?
Making a decision to go to couples or marriage counseling is one that entirely depends on the couple, there are no specific guidelines outlining the perfect time to do so. However, there are a number of signs which could suggest now is the right time, these include:
- The enduring conflict within your partnership has started to seriously affect you and your partner’s happiness, as well as your physical and mental health.
- The situation in your relationship has come to a deadlock – any progress towards a conflict resolution seems to have stalled permanently.
- You and your partner are no longer capable of communicating in a constructive fashion – every conversation or exchange results in further conflict aggravation.
Where To Seek Help?
A therapist is an independent arbiter who has no connection and no preconceived notions about the relationship of the couple he or she is working with – many couples find that the neutrality of the counselor makes conflict resolution easier. This facilitation of conflict resolution during couples or marriage counseling allows many partners to take a new look at their situation and improve their communication.
Here at Thriveworks Counseling in Portland, we strive to provide exactly that – an objective, nonjudgmental, and discrete counseling service. Our expert counselors are all very experienced and have worked with people at all stages of their relationships and experiencing a broad spectrum of problems. We understand how to best help our clients – no matter who they are or what problems they approach us with. We believe that change is possible – so please, reach out to us today to arrange your first couples or marriage counseling session.