Marriage Counseling Techniques

Updated January 13, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Marriage counseling can be a productive way for couples to work through the problems that are holding them back. While marital issues are not mental health conditions themselves, marital conflict and the ensuing stress can lead to health problems such as hypertension, anxiety, and depression. Each of these can lead to other physical or mental health issues. Couples might be more amenable to marriage therapy if they view it as more of a preventive measure than as a treatment for a problem. With that said, there are several couples counseling techniques that keep this model in mind. Just as there is no one-size-fits-all approach to individual counseling, there is also not one standard way to conduct marriage counseling sessions.

Are You And Your Spouse Experiencing Marital Issues?

The Adlerian Or Individual Approach

Alfred Adler was one of the pioneers of individual therapy. He believed that one had to treat the individual as a whole and consider how that person experienced and viewed the world as a unique human being. Adler was quite successful in working with both individuals and couples because of his realization that there were two distinct persons involved in the marriage. The status of a couple implies oneness, but Adler insisted that the individual's needs must come first. 

Often, couples might say, "We want to save our marriage." Adler believed that when two people are so intent on saving the marriage, they may lose themselves, possibly generating a great deal of damage.

Married Couples Group Therapy

While it is comforting to realize there are others with the same sorts of problems, taking relationship issues into a group setting can have one of several impacts. If one says something the other is not comfortable with others knowing, an issue that may not have existed before has now been created. Add this issue to the stack of problems already present, and group settings have the potential to make the situation even worse.

In some cases, this could cause others to feel attacked, which can prevent a healthy couples counseling environment from forming. With other types of issues, group therapy can work quite well. For marriage therapy, strong consideration may want to be given. Of course, every situation is different, and some couples might find that the group setting is exactly what they need.

Therapeutic Model Vs. Pragmatic

With the therapeutic model, couples therapists treat relationship problems much like they would a mental health issue. In some marriages, this may set the stage for blaming and labeling. Marital conflict can be due to one or both partners having a mental health concern, or substance use/addiction issue; however, these should be treated individually, as separate concerns and separate people. Individual therapy can be conducted outside the marriage or couples therapy alliance. However, the couple can discuss how these issues have impacted the marriage when in marriage counseling.

With the pragmatic model, couples are encouraged to deal with immediate issues that are causing conflict. These often include the “easy” fixes. This could mean that partners spend more quality time together, learn each other’s love language, or just communicate more effectively so that they can make more informed decisions about the relationship. With the pragmatic approach, there is often a great deal of self-examination on the part of each individual to determine their motives and discover their triggers. After these have been identified, the couple can begin working on solutions for conflict resolution.

Are You And Your Spouse Experiencing Marital Issues?

Online Therapy With BetterHelp

Considering getting individual or couples counseling? Each of these can be a helpful option for moving forward from negative cycles that are leaving you and your partner feeling stuck. It can be difficult to find the time for therapy, particularly if you and your significant other would like to go together. Online therapy can be a viable resource for busy individuals or couples who would still like to receive mental health care and support. You can connect with a therapist through BetterHelp, an online counseling platform. All you’ll need to get started is a smart device and a reliable internet connection. 

The Effectiveness Of Online Therapy

Online-based therapy can be beneficial for individuals and couples alike, whether they’re experiencing a mental health disorder or have general concerns about their well-being. One study assessed the efficacy of an online couples therapy intervention delivered through videoconferencing. Participants reported higher relationship satisfaction and researchers concluded that the study “provides evidence for couples therapy via videoconferencing as a viable alternative to face-to-face interventions, especially for those couples who may not have the treatment they require.”

The Takeaway 

Marriage counseling can take on many different forms. Since each marriage is comprised of two unique individuals, it can be important for marriage counseling to focus on both people separately as well as together. If you’re experiencing issues in your relationship, an online therapist may be able to help you through the problems you’re facing. Whether you seek therapy on your own or with your spouse, you may find benefits from seeking advice from an unbiased outside source. 

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