How to Get the Most from Marriage Counseling

iStock_000011684244XSmallPeople are often curious about how to get the most out of their sessions with a marriage therapist.  Who wouldn’t want to get their marriage back on the right track as quickly as possible?  In addition, most couples do not have an abundance of extra money so they want to make sure their hard-earned cash will be used wisely.  If you and your partner are interested in couples/marriage counseling, here are some guidelines to get the most out of your experience:


  • First, consider whether the therapist has training/experience in couple’s therapy.  Not all therapists are equipped to work with marriages.  Related to this, you want to make sure the therapist values marriage and will validate your efforts to work things out and make it the marriage you both desire.
  • Second, it is important to find a therapist that is the right fit.  A therapist that was wonderful for your friend may not be the right therapist for you and your partner.  Research indicates that the fit of the therapist is a major factor in the success of therapy.  Things to consider are the gender of the therapist, other areas of expertise that may be needed (parenting, step-parenting, miscarriage, grief, previous divorce, depression, etc.), style of therapy, and availability.
  •  Third, each partner has to agree to put it all on the table.  Therapy doesn’t work if there are secrets, or if one spouse is not committed to the process of therapy.  This may seem scary for some, but a therapist cannot help the unknown.
  • Fourth, the couple has to commit to finding time for each other.  Marriages are not saved or made better by only talking about them an hour a week with a therapist.  It takes time and effort.  Spending time focused on the relationship also gives the couple more specific things to address with the therapist each week (for example, attempts at talking about a problem).
  • Finally, consider the idea of giving your spouse the benefit of the doubt.  Often, especially when we are frustrated with someone, we look for ways they fall short.  However, when we focus on believing the best, people often rise to the occasion.

Marriage counseling can be life changing and can help you build the relationship you have always wanted.  Why not start now?

Amanda Harrington, Ph.D.

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