Where Can I Find Marriage Counselors Near Me?
Relationships can be complicated. Marriage may offer a layer of complexity for many couples as they learn about compromise, commitment, and specific milestones at their partner's side. Speaking to a therapist can be helpful when navigating such complexity, but it can be challenging for some to reach out for help or know where to find a therapist specializing in their concerns.
49% of American married couples attend couples therapy. Counseling may be helpful if you have communication concerns or are experiencing arguments or lessened emotional intimacy. Infidelity and other secrets from your partner can also contribute to a less stable marriage. If you're worried about the effectiveness of couples therapy in addressing your concerns, know that 70% of couples find it effective in the long term.
What Is Marriage Counseling?
Often, the goals of marriage counseling may involve finding the root of a conflict and determining where to proceed with guidance from the counselor. In addition, spouses can work with a marriage counselor to address underlying issues, improve communication, and rebuild trust if necessary.
In some cases, counselors may help a couple realize they don't want to continue with the marriage. Although couples might not enter a session with the intent to separate, they might find it the healthiest choice. For example, in a marriage where partners are experiencing distressing mental health symptoms or widely differing values or opinions on heavy topics, they might decide together that they wish to divorce and use therapy as a tool to assist in the divorce process. Clients can come to these decisions on their own through their provider's support.
Couples counseling is a form of therapy that often requires both partners' participation and willingness to make a change. Each person may need to be willing to look at their behaviors honestly while expressing anger, frustration, or disappointment. Working as a team in sessions could help couples.
Reasons Couples Seek Marriage Counseling
There are many reasons couples might decide to start counseling with a professional, including the following:
- Not feeling close anymore
- Communication problems
- Constant arguing
- Disagreements over how to handle finances
- Disagreements over parenting decisions
- Family concerns
- Sexual intimacy concerns
- Emotional intimacy concerns
- Substance use
- Intimate partner abuse
Your safety comes first if you are in an abusive relationship. Therapy sessions may not be beneficial in these cases. If you are facing or witnessing abuse of any kind, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 for support. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or text "START" to 88788. You can also use the online chat.
If you are struggling with substance use, contact the SAMHSA National Helpline at (800) 662-4357 to receive support and resources.
Note that seeing a marriage counselor doesn't necessarily mean that your partnership is failing. Instead, it might signify that you are willing to work on the concerns in your marriage instead of accepting them or trying to ignore them. Marriage counseling may also improve your individual communication skills and mental health.
What Happens In Couples Counseling?
An average couples counseling session usually begins with the professional asking the couple for their perspectives about what is not working. Once the therapist understands the relationship dynamics, they may guide healthier communication and suggest research-based techniques personalized to the couple’s concerns.
Part of a therapist's job may be to watch for signs of mental health conditions in one or both people that might be adding to the difficulties, and offer a referral for individual treatment if needed. For example, if one partner is experiencing depression or another mental health condition, they might start seeing an individual therapist in addition to the couples therapist to ensure proper treatment.
Couples therapy may also involve homework or tasks for the couple to accomplish together between sessions. For example, the counselor might ask the couples to spend time asking one another open-ended questions, or offer worksheets for them to consider at home. At the next session, the couple can tell the therapist how their activities went.
How To Find A Couples Counselor Near You
Not all therapists work with couples, and those who do may have special training in this area of psychology. For this reason, look for someone with background, experience, and education that prepares them to work with married partners.
It may be best to find a counselor that is licensed as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). People who specialize in marriage and family therapy have specific training that prepares them for working with couples and families, including those with multiple individuals experiencing mental health challenges.
Other licensed therapists and clinical psychologists also often have experience working with couples. Reading a therapist's professional profile and asking them directly about their experience working with couples can help lead you to a suitable counselor.
Religious leaders, such as pastors, priests, and rabbis, might also have experience with family therapy and working with married couples. However, if they do not have a clinical degree, be careful reaching out for support for mental health counseling. Often, a family therapist can serve as a life coach or supportive figure instead of providing complete mental health support.
Other Counseling Options
Some individuals may face barriers to treatment and struggle to find marriage counselors that work for their and their partner's schedules. If you're struggling to find an in-person therapist, consider online therapy. Online couples therapy can be as beneficial as in-person sessions and may allow you and your partner to attend sessions from home or in two separate locations if you have conflicting schedules. Additionally, some online providers may have late-night, early morning, or weekend session availability.
Recent research on internet-based couples and marriage therapy found that online therapy was more effective than in-person treatment. Participants felt that the platform offered them more control and comfort in sessions than they found with in-person options, and often reported feeling emotionally closer to their therapists. If you're interested in trying online therapy, you can sign up for a cost-effective platform like BetterHelp for individuals or Regain for couples. These platforms offer over 30,000 professionals with various specialties and therapy modalities.
Being married can be challenging. Many couples face concerns in their married life, such as differences in parenting styles, infidelity, financial conflicts, or communication struggles. Marriage counselors are trained professionals who work with couples to find ways of resolving these patterns and improving the marriage using specific counseling techniques.
You may choose to seek an LMFT or find a licensed therapist or clinical psychologist specializing in marriage and family dynamics. In addition, some couples seek help from religious leaders with training in life coaching related to marriage. If you're interested in finding support in your marriage, consider reaching out to a marriage counselor in your area for further guidance.
What type of therapist is best for marriage counseling?
Typically, a therapist who specializes in couples counseling, marriage counseling, or family therapy will be your best bet when working on a relationship. By using a search engine and typing “marriage counseling near me” you can find counselors in your location (or work from online platforms) that specialize in communication within relationships. If you have insurance, you may also look for referrals through the insurance company.
There are further specializations, with some therapists trained in particular methods such as the Gottman method, which is a specific type of couples counseling developed by John Gottman and his wife, Julia Schwartz Gottman. Gottman method couples therapy uses a framework involving three areas: friendship, conflict management, and creation of shared meaning to explore and ultimately add tools to a relationship.
Can marriage counseling save a marriage?
Often relationships can falter due to inability to communicate in healthy ways. One or more of the people within the relationship may be managing a mental health condition, or has difficulty communicating their wants or needs. A licensed therapist can offer insight, coping mechanisms, and communication skill education that can help those within the marriage understand themselves and their partner in a more significant way.
What is the meaning of marriage counseling?
Marriage counseling is a way to address conflict or lack of communication in a relationship with a professional who is experienced in evidence-based treatment methods.
What is the meaning of marriage and family counseling?
Family counseling can add the dimension of managing issues facing not just the romantic relationship, but children or other family members that are in close contact. For example, parents of a child with severe developmental delays may choose to attend therapy together and with their other children to learn how to manage any big emotions that are caused by the added stress or anxiety as a result of challenges or care of their child with developmental delays.
What is meant by the term counseling?
Counseling in terms of psychology refers to the guidance of an individual, couple, or group through mental health, conflict, or communication challenges by a licensed professional using evidence-based frameworks and methods.
The APA defines a counselor as someone who “help(s) people with physical, emotional, and mental health issues improve their sense of wellbeing, alleviate feelings of distress, and resolve crises.”
What are the 5 stages of counseling?
The five stages of counseling include:
- Initial discussion, or relationship building
- Exploration, or problem assessment
- Goal setting
- Counseling intervention
- Evaluation, termination, or referral
What happens in counseling sessions?
It depends on which stage of the counseling process you are currently experiencing. The therapist may ask you about your experiences (current, past, or future expectations), they may talk about your goals, or they may simply listen. Depending on client needs, they may offer a variety of evidence-based coping strategies, stress management techniques, and other tools.
What to expect in the first counseling session?
In an initial counseling session, a therapist will often simply talk with you about what you are hoping to accomplish through therapy. At this stage, they want to get to know you and your expectations. It’s about building trust and relationship.
What do therapists ask in the first session?
In the first session, it’s common for the therapist to ask the client about what caused them to seek therapy. They may ask open-ended follow up questions to help the client elaborate and to find out more about them in a relaxed, and comforting environment.
What to expect after a first counseling session?
Follow up counseling sessions for a while may continue to build on the information received in the initial session about the client’s reasons for seeking counseling. In couples counseling, this can take a while, as there may be long-established communication challenges, conflict, and differing points of view to navigate. Each person will be given time to share their feelings and experiences, while the therapist assesses the needs of the relationship and each individual.
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