Today, mental health issues have become more critical. People are finding ways to manage their health-related issues online. Many people think about getting counseling when they go through difficult times, such as health problems, experience depression, or adjusting to normal life transitions.
Research suggests that many people go to counseling to discuss their concerns regarding their relationship. This gives an advantage to marriage counseling and therapy services. Marriage counseling can be effective when couples are experiencing difficult marital problems.
Nowadays, maintaining a successful relationship can be very difficult, even if both parties want it to work. If your marriage is having problems, you should immediately seek professional help. Marriage counseling can be effective if a couple seeks it out sooner rather than later. Fortunately, attending couples therapy with a licensed professional tends to impact troubled relationships positively. But still, people are reluctant to seek out help because of the perceived stigma attached to therapy.
Research has shown that online therapy can be a useful first step for those who’re reluctant to seek therapy and help people overcome their fear. It’s important that both persons feel comfortable with the therapist, so keep trying until you find the right therapist.
What is Marriage Counseling?
Marriage counseling or couple counseling is a kind of counseling that specifically focuses on marriage and relationships. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT) are specially trained to help couples, diagnose their problems and provide solutions. Couple counseling is safe for couples to talk about what is really in their minds.
For counseling, communication is key. When it comes to solving marriage problems, marriage counseling is the best way to improve communication skills, come to mutual understanding, and figure out how to improve and move forward as a couple.
Who Should Seek Marriage Counseling?
Many people think that couples who are about to divorce should seek marriage counseling. It’s a stigma attached to marriage counseling. But the truth is, all marriages have their problems when they struggle to find the solution.
You don’t have to be married to seek counseling as any couple can seek counseling, regardless of their relationship status. Marriage counseling is for a couple of all races, and a couple who have less traditional relationship set-ups like long-distance, married, but no living together.
Many couples want marriage counseling before tying the knot. There are no restrictions on why you might think of marriage counseling. Any problem that you don’t feel like you can solve on your own or could benefit from a trained and unbiased perspective can be helped by a few sessions of couple counseling.
Kinds of Marriage Counseling:
Research finds that different problems are better handled by different kinds of therapy. It’s really important to look for a counselor that is experienced in the treatment that best suits your needs. A trained counselor will help you choose the best technique for your needs.
You should communicate with your counselor about your marital problems and find out if he has experience working with families in similar situations. Below we discuss some of the most common research-based approaches for marriage counseling.
Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT):
EFT is based on principles from attachment theory. It focuses on the couple’s emotions, resilience, and healthy relationship for couples. This kind of counseling has been effective for couples impacted by:
- Traumatic Stress
- Past emotional injuries
- Serious health problems
Behavioral Couple Therapy (BCT):
BCT focuses on helping clients change their behavior by understanding its influence on the behavior of people who are around them. Two kinds of behavioral couple therapy (BCT) are;
- Integrative behavioral couple therapy (IBCT)
- Traditional behavioral couple therapy (TBCT)
Integrative behavioral couple therapy (IBCT):
It focuses on emotional acceptance and behavioral changes, helping couples recognize their ineffective behavior patterns or the way that harms their relationship. It also helps couples ways to interact that are more positive for their relationship.
Traditional behavioral couple therapy (TBCT)
It focuses on developing stronger communication and problem-solving skills. These approaches have shown a significant improvement in a couple’s relationships even after serious and chronic problems. Research shows that many couples can sustain a relationship after treatment.
The Gottman Approach:
This approach emphasizes helping couples with stronger relationships. Couples develop a healthy relationship based on a model called Sound Relationship House. This model is backed by more than 40 years of research by the Gottman Institute. This approach focuses on teaching couples to grow in trust and commitment while becoming emotionally intelligent couples.
Generally, marriage counseling is most effective when couples participate and are ready to sort out their relationships. When your spouse is not willing to attend counseling, individual counseling can still be helpful. In this case, it is more important that your counselor has experience in marital counseling. A counselor can still try to help you repair your relationship. A trained counselor knows how to work with one spouse by keeping the other in mind during treatment.
It’s a new approach that addresses couple needs when one member is considering leaning out. This involves one spouse who wants a divorce while the other tries to save the marriage. The objective of this therapy is to clarify what each spouse is thinking, there is a desire to work on a relationship, and understand the problem if spouses decide to work together to repair the marriage.
It is more intensive counseling for couples. Discernment counseling lasts a few sessions if a couple decides to repair their relationship. Therapists will develop a more extensive plan for counseling to address their issues.
This therapy focuses on religious counseling. Research on pastoral counseling is limited. Many couples think that meeting with their religious leader is useful when seeking help because they believe there is a strong spiritual meaning to their marriage.
Effectiveness of Marriage Counseling:
The most effective form of treatment is emotionally focused couples therapy (EFT). Research shows that this treatment is very helpful and long-lasting with those of various cultural backgrounds.
A study in 2017 showed the effectiveness of couple’s therapy in a group, with variation in age and race, and found it very effective, with relationships still improving 18 months after treatment. Another research in 2017 showed that EFT lasts 24 months after treatment. Research published in 2015 found that EFT is helpful in a couple experiencing infertility.
Does Marriage Counseling Work?
Marriage counseling works if both partners are willing to do it. It is not about sitting back and having professionals fix problems between you and your partner. It takes both partners being willing, open, and present to see results. Once you find the right counselor, the sessions can take your relationships to a better place.
A study has shown that 44% of couples go to counseling before they even say “I do”, and 98 % of couples who went to counseling were happy with the result.
Marriage counseling can help you work through conflicts and strengthen your bond. It will be successful when both partners are willing and committed to the process. If you want to change your relationship dynamics with the person you love, couple counseling could be your path forward.