Where Can I Find Marriage Counselors Near Me?

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox
Updated December 25, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Content Warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that could be triggering to the reader. Please see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.

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.

Getty/MoMo Productions
How Could Marriage Counseling Bring You And Your Partner Closer?

What Is Marriage Counseling?

Marriage counseling is a form of talk therapy attended by spouses to discuss concerns about married life. A therapist or counselor may work with couples to identify problem areas and seek mutually acceptable solutions. Some couples decide to attend counseling because they feel that relationship therapy could improve their situations. Other couples may look for therapy because they are contemplating separation or divorce. There are many reasons that couples might see a therapist. 

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 
  • Infidelity
  • 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. 

Rawpixel

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.  

Getty
How Could Marriage Counseling Bring You And Your Partner Closer?

Takeaway

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. 

Receive evidence-based counseling

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started