Marriages often have ups and downs that see couples disagree, fight, cut communication and in worse scenarios, look at separation and divorce. In such circumstances, people may seek the help of marriage counseling to save the marriage. Marriage and Family Therapists and other licensed mental health professionals have the training and knowledge skills to help.
What is marriage counseling?
Marriage counseling is a type of counseling offered by licensed health professionals to help couples when marriages face serious challenges. The process is for couples to build a relationship, communicate better and overcome marital challenges.
What is the Role of a Marriage Counselor?
Another way of looking at the role of a marriage counselor is to ask: what does couples counseling do? A marriage counselor’s main role is to help people whose marriages are experiencing difficulties. The counselor offers help by providing advice as well as suggesting possible ways of solving the problems. People go for marriage counseling because they feel it might save their relationship. As such, a marriage counselor helps provide that assistance, trying to keep the couple from separating or divorce.
When Should You Seek Marriage Counseling?
You might not know it, but licensed couples therapist Ian Kerner says you need to seek marriage counseling way before it becomes clear that you need one. The best time is before the marriage is hurt to a point where counseling might not be of great help. Seek counseling if:
- communication has broken down
- there seems to be no trust in the relationship
- there are lots of disagreements creeping into your relationship
- one or both parties are becoming too defensive
- there are allegations of infidelity
- Marriage is turning “abusive”
- Physical intimacy is gone
- If you have emotional intimacy issues
There are many other telltale signs that you can look at and decide it’s best to seek counseling from a marriage professional.
What is the Difference Between Marriage Counseling and Couple’s Therapy?
The terms marriage counseling and couples therapy are often used interchangeably. There is also relationship counseling thrown in there. But are they different?
Well, they appear similar when taken in the context of how they are applied. Both deal with the need to help relationships affected by underlying issues like conflict.
However, marriage counseling often deals with the “now” and is couples to find solutions to challenges in their marriage.
Couples therapy does offer this same benefit but will often help couples handle problems from a historical angle. The therapist might help a couple trace their problems right even before marriage. Counseling will often take fewer sessions, but therapy might require a little more time.
Is Marriage Counseling Covered by Health Insurance?
You are likely to find that your health insurance does not cover marriage counseling. In most cases, it is because health insurance covers what the law considers “medical necessity.” Marriage counseling often is a relationship problem, and thus not many health insurance companies provide cover for it. However, an insurance company can cover marriage counseling in cases where referral links the marriage problems to something like mental illness in one of the partners.
If your marriage counselor does not accept your insurance, try other professionals like psychologists or psychiatrists as they might accept your marriage insurance. You should then call the insurance company to see how much they pay as marriage insurance cover.
What is the Average Cost of Marriage Counseling?
Marriage counseling costs in the U.S. typically range between $50 and $250 per hour session. On average couples pay around $60 per hour session, though that cost depends on several factors and can be relatively higher. Things like the location of the counselor and the time it takes determine what you eventually pay for marriage counseling.
Before you proceed with counseling, you may want to know from the counselor what they charge and ensure you understand that it’s per hour and not per session. Remember a session can be anywhere from an hour to three.
How Long Should You do Premarital Counseling?
On average, many couples report having taken five sessions for premarital counseling. In truth, it could be anywhere from one to six sessions or even more. The exact number and therefore how long the counseling takes depend on a few things.
For instance, it will depend on what the premarital counselor determines as appropriate, what the couple wants, how strong the relationship is and any other issues that might need going through with the counselor.
Do Marriage Counselors Ever Recommend Divorce?
Marriage counselors try to keep the marriage intact and as such often stay off from ever suggesting that divorce is the next option. Most therapists and counselors say that they try as much as possible not to give direct advice to couples concerning divorce. Many therapists hold that suggesting that couples could be better of divorced is unethical and dangerous. Even when the couples ask for a divorce, the therapist will try to save the marriage. But if there is physical abuse or other danger, marriage counselors often help the client in question to get the help they need. That could include suggesting that the couple separates.
Can a Marriage Counselor Testify in a Divorce Case?
Marriage counselors and other licensed mental health professionals are ethically bound and in law expected to strictly protect their clients and the information they hold.
But legally and theoretically, marriage counselors can testify in court if subpoenaed. But even then, most therapists would let the court know they hold client confidentiality and only divulge generalities rather than the specifics of what they have from the clients. Even then, the therapist will need to have formal permission from the clients.
An exception would be where a client poses a health risk to themselves or others, or in instances child abuse.
Can I Fix a Marriage Without Counseling?
If your marriage is on the rocks but you wish to fix it without counseling, try these:
- Cultivate and engage in open, honest communication with your spouse. Healthy communication is the bedrock of any good relationship, more so marriage.
- Ask the hard questions in the right way without losing it. Try not to keep things to a boiling point.
- Acknowledge and accept that you are different people, then work to enhance each other even in your differences
- Be present in the marriage– you know that absence in marriage can breed all sorts of problems
- Do not involve family and neighbors unless absolutely necessary. Only move with speed if the relationship is abusive and poses risks to you or others.
Does Counseling Help Marriage?
You could also ask it this way: Can couples counseling save a relationship? The simple answer is yes. As well as relationships, counseling has been shown to help marriages. It so happens especially when couples succeed in restoring communication.
According to the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, up to 98 percent of couples who go for marriage counseling report that the sessions helped them.
What is Discussed in Premarital Counseling?
Premarital counseling often discusses topics aimed at helping couples in their relationship as they move towards marriage. What questions are asked in pre-marriage counseling is a common question from couples seeking premarital counseling.
The sessions will see you discuss and handle questions on the following issues:
- Your finances
- marriage roles
- intimacy and sex
- Couples beliefs and values
- Roles in marriage
- Plans for having children
- Family and friends
How do I Choose a Marriage Counselor?
If you are affiliated with a religious group, your leaders can suggest a marriage counselor for you. If not, then look for a licensed marriage counselor near you or online. It is advisable to find out if they are licensed as professional counselor s or registered to offer couples therapy.
Check with the therapist to see if they have screening sessions or that initial “talk” that would help you to decide whether the marriage counselor is the right fit.
What is the Average Cost of Premarital Counseling?
Nationally, the average cost of premarital counseling ranges between $125 and $175. These are fees most premarital counselors charge for a single session lasting one hour. With the average number of sessions at five, the average cost of counseling comes to between $625 and $875. The costs may be slightly lower or more depending on the sessions and the specific fees a certified therapist charges.
What is the Purpose of Premarital Counseling?
Premarital counseling aims at helping a couple get ready for marriage. The therapist works with the couple to help them build a relationship that can help their marriage. Couples can use this type of counseling to identify and work on weaknesses that might, later on, affect the marriage.
Does Premarital Counseling Reduce Divorce Rates?
The American Psychological Association reports that about 50 percent of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. Statistics, on the other hand, show that couples who attend premarital counseling have 30 percent more chance of successful marriage than those couples who do not take counseling before marriage.
What Percentage of Couples go to Marriage Counseling?
Nearly 44 percent of couples in the U.S. go to marriage counseling before marriage, with a higher percentage of 93 stating that the sessions provide what they need to have successful marriage relationships.
How do I Prepare for Counseling?
You don’t need to prepare for counseling as such. Perhaps the main preparation of sorts is finding a licensed counselor or marriage and family therapist (MFT) that fits your needs. You could seek help from family and friends or religious communities. You can also speak to your health insurance provider about coverage and local counseling agencies about costs.
What are the Benefits of Premarital Counseling?
There are several benefits to premarital counseling, including the fact that couples have a higher chance of having a successful marriage.
Some of the other benefits that couples get from counseling before marriage include establishing mutual goals for their marriage; learning ways of improving communication; tackling potential pitfalls and problems before marriage; learning that marriage is a relationship that needs the commitment of the couple to succeed.
What Happens in Marriage Counseling Sessions?
Different marriage counselors and therapists go about the counseling process differently. However, here is what would typically happen in marriage counseling once a couple finds the right counselor for them.
The first session would involve talking about ‘whys’ of why they are seeking counseling. The therapist guides the couple in discussing the history of the relationship, their goals, and desires. Questions around the conflict and answers help assess communication between the couples. The therapist can then schedule follow-up sessions to look at stress and so on.
What is Marriage in the Bible?
The Bible talks of marriage as a sacred bond that unites a man and a woman as instituted by God. According to the Bible, God’s plan for marriage is for it to be a permanent union that no other man or woman can break.
If you have any questions or just need someone to talk with, call Veronica at 919-903-1091.