Marriage Counseling


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Marriage Counseling

 

Definition

Marriage counseling is a type of psychotherapy for a married couple or established partners that tries to resolve problems in the relationship. Typically, two people attend counseling sessions together to discuss specific issues.

Purpose

Marriage counseling is based on research that shows that individuals and their problems are best handled within the context of their relationships. Marriage counselors are trained in psychotherapy and family systems, and focus on understanding their clients' symptoms and the way their interactions contribute to problems in the relationship.

Description

Marriage counseling is usually a short-term therapy that may take only a few sessions to work out problems in the relationship. Typically, marriage counselors ask questions about the couple's roles, patterns, rules, goals, and beliefs. Therapy often begins as the couple analyzes the good and bad aspects of the relationship. The marriage counselor then works with the couple to help them understand that, in most cases, both partners are contributing to problems in the relationship. When this is understood, the two can then learn to change how they interact with each other to solve problems. The partners may be encouraged to draw up a contract in which each partner describes the behavior he or she will be trying to maintain.
Marriage is not a requirement for two people to get help from a marriage counselor. Anyone person wishing to improve his or her relationships can get help with behavioral problems, relationship issues, or with mental or emotional disorders. Marriage counselors also offer treatment for couples before they get married to help them understand potential problem areas. A third type of marriage counseling involves postmarital therapy, in which divorcing couples who share children seek help in working out their differences. Couples in the midst of a divorce find that marriage therapy during separation can help them find a common ground as they negotiate interpersonal issues and child custody.

Choosing a therapist

A marriage counselor is trained to use different types of therapy in work with individuals, couples, and groups. American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) training includes supervision by experienced therapists, a minimum of a master's degree (including specific training in marriage and family therapy), and specific graduate training in marriage and family therapy.
When looking for a marriage counselor, a couple should find out the counselor's training and educational background, professional associations, such as AAMFT, and state licensure, and whether the person has experience in treating particular kinds of problem. Also, questions should be asked concerning fees, insurance coverage, the average length of therapy, and so on.

Normal results

Marriage counseling helps couples learn to deal more effectively with problems, and can help prevent small problems from becoming serious. Research shows that marriage counseling, when effective, tends to improve a person's physical as well as mental health, in addition to improving the relationship.

Resources

Organizations

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. 1133 15th St., NW Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005-2710. (202) 452-0109. http://www.aamft.org.
American Psychological Association (APA). 750 First St. NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. (202) 336-5700. http://www.apa.org.
References in periodicals archive ?
As one of the founding members of the Institute's Marriage Counseling Specialists, Dr.
If all you've got is the creation of an American Sabbath and making marriage counseling tax deductable.
Basu was skeptical of the IFPC's claim that the federal funds just passed through its bank account on the way to a sub-unit that did the marriage counseling.
More Perfect Unions contains a reasonable enough account of the arrival of marriage counseling on the American scene in the late 1920s.
In a nutshell: Robin Williams plays a reverend running the Marquis de Sade School of Marriage Counseling in this desperately unfunny movie.
Despite the fact that Australian Anglicans initiated a marriage counseling movement as early as 1948, specifically to address marital strife that grew out of demobilization, counseling needs and expressing anger and grief did not find a social outlet until after the Vietnam War.
Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky) Four angry metalheads in the equivalent of marriage counseling is a template for a generation recognizing that remaining an adolescent when you turn forty is a problem.
For many years I had a patient who came in for marriage counseling related to his wife's chronic illness but had no history of any psychotic illness.
She specializes in dealing with families and children, does marriage counseling, works with families facing chemical dependency issues and treats people with mental health diagnoses.
The four major broadcasters have been quick to pick up on Korea's changing societal values by airing marriage counseling shows.
There is Paul Popenoe, who started the first "marriage clinics," and Ernest Groves, who introduced marriage counseling into college curriculums.
HUCKABEE HAS SENT up a trial balloon on the idea of tax credits for marriage counseling.