What to Expect From Marriage Counseling

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19 March 2024

6 Mins

If you are a couple and want to improve your relationship, going for marriage counseling can be a great step to open that door for connection and growth. As you take this important step, it's natural to wonder what to expect from marriage counseling. From talking openly to setting goals together, each session can help you grow and make positive changes.

In this blog, let’s explore how marriage counseling works, what to expect in marriage counseling, what happens in marriage counseling, and how it can make your relationship stronger. Read on to know.

Will Couples Counseling Actually Help?

Couples counseling can be beneficial for many couples, but its effectiveness depends on various factors, including the willingness of both partners to participate, the skill and approach of the counselor, and addressing the specific issues the couple is facing, along with what happens in marriage counseling sessions.

Here are some ways about what to expect from marriage counseling:

  • To improve communication: Couples counseling can teach partners better communication skills, helping them express their needs, feelings, and concerns more effectively.
  • To resolve conflict: Counselors can assist couples in resolving conflicts in healthier ways, reducing the possibility of escalating arguments and promoting compromise and understanding.
  • Identify patterns: Couples counseling can help partners recognize unhealthy patterns of behavior or communication within their relationship and work together to change them.
  • Rebuild trust: For couples dealing with issues such as infidelity or betrayal, counseling can provide a safe space to address trust issues and work towards rebuilding trust in the relationship.
  • Enhance intimacy: Counseling can help couples reconnect emotionally and sexually, encouraging a deeper sense of intimacy and closeness.

Marriage Counseling Success Rate

Relationship expert John Gottman suggests that while every couple will face unsolvable problems, successful marriage counseling hinges on couples maintaining connection and effectively addressing issues.

Here are some statistics regarding the effectiveness of couples counseling:

  • A review spanning from 1991 to 2011 found that 70% of couples experienced positive changes and reduced distress following couples therapy.
  • 93% of couples reported acquiring "more effective tools for dealing with their problems" after counseling sessions.
  • After participating in emotionally-focused therapy for couples, 90% of couples reported significant improvements in their relationships.
  • Within just 12 sessions of emotionally-focused therapy for couples, 70-73% of couples reported relief from marital distress.

What Are the Main Goals of the First Marriage Therapy Session?

The first marriage therapy session typically serves several important purposes, and therapists often have specific goals to lay a foundation for the therapy process. Here are some of the main goals of the first marriage therapy session and what to expect in couples therapy:

  • Establish a bond with both partners
  • Understand the concerns and reasons for seeking therapy
  • Conduct an initial assessment of the relationship dynamics
  • Clarify the therapy process, including expectations and roles
  • Collaboratively establish goals for therapy
  • Instill hope and highlight strengths
  • Develop a tailored treatment plan

What to Expect From Your First Marriage Counseling Session

Remember that every marriage counseling session is unique, and the therapist will tailor the process to your specific needs and goals. If you’re confused about how marriage counseling works, the first session will answer all your apprehensions. The first session sets the tone for your therapeutic journey and provides a foundation for future work on your relationship.

Here's what to expect in marriage counseling, especially the first session, broken down into 10 steps:

1. Introduction

The therapist will warmly greet you and your partner, introducing themselves and their background in counseling. They'll aim to create a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere to help you feel at ease.

2. Discussion of ground rules

The therapist will go over important logistical details such as the session duration, confidentiality policies, fees, and scheduling. This ensures that you understand what to expect in terms of practical matters.

3. Reasons for seeking therapy

The therapist will invite you and your partner to share why you've decided to seek marriage counseling. This is an opportunity to express the issues or concerns that have led you to therapy and what you hope to achieve from the process.

4. Personal perspectives

Each partner will have the chance to express their individual viewpoints and emotions regarding the relationship. This allows the therapist to understand each person's perspective and how they perceive the challenges within the relationship.

5. Exploration of relationship dynamics

The therapist will facilitate a discussion about the dynamics of your relationship, including how you communicate, how conflicts arise, and any recurring patterns or themes in your interactions.

6. Assessment of strengths and challenges

The therapist will help identify the strengths and weaknesses of your relationship. This assessment helps lay the groundwork for understanding what's working well and what areas need improvement.

7. Goal setting

Together with the therapist, you and your partner will collaboratively set goals for therapy. These goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART goals). They can range from improving communication to resolving specific conflicts or rebuilding trust.

8. Establishment of trust

The therapist will focus on building rapport and trust with both partners. They'll create a nonjudgmental and supportive environment where you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts, feelings, and concerns openly.

9. Initial strategies

Depending on your goals and the issues discussed, the therapist may introduce some initial strategies or exercises to help you address your relationship challenges. These could include communication techniques, conflict resolution skills, or mindfulness exercises.

10. Discussion of next steps

Toward the end of the session, you'll discuss what to expect in future sessions and how you can continue working on your relationship outside of therapy. The therapist may assign homework assignments or suggest specific behaviors or practices to implement between sessions.

Other Common Questions About Couples Therapy

How Many Sessions Will We Need to Attend?

The number of sessions needed varies depending on the complexity of the issues, the willingness of both partners to participate, and the effectiveness of the therapy. Some couples may find resolution in a few sessions, while others may benefit from ongoing therapy over several months. Your therapist will discuss the estimated duration of therapy during your initial sessions and adjust it as needed based on your progress.

Do Both Partners Need to Attend Marriage Counseling?

Ideally, both partners should attend marriage counseling to address relationship issues collaboratively. However, there may be situations where one partner is unable or unwilling to participate. While individual therapy can still be beneficial, the effectiveness of couples therapy is often enhanced when both partners are actively engaged in the process.

How Much Does Marriage Counseling Cost?

The cost of marriage counseling varies depending on factors such as the therapist's credentials, location, and the duration of each session. In general, the cost can range from Rs.1000 to Rs.2000 or more per session. Some therapists offer sliding-scale fees based on income, and insurance coverage may also help offset the cost. It's important to discuss fees and payment options with your therapist before starting therapy to ensure clarity and transparency.

How Can Now&Me Help

Now&Me provides a supportive online space for people who want to seek help with marriage counseling and wondering what to expect at marriage counseling. Through free chats with qualified professionals and affordable additional support, you can receive tailored guidance, starting at just Rs. 30.

Now&Me also offers articles, guides, and forums to aid in understanding and conquering marriage issues. With a supportive community ready to listen and share, Now&Me promotes healing and connection for those dealing with marital challenges.

Download the Now&Me app today and take the first step towards a happier, healthier marriage.


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