Marriage and Family Counseling
Marriage counseling, also called couples therapy, is a type of psychotherapy. Marriage counseling helps couples of all types recognize and resolve conflicts and improve their relationships. Through marriage counseling, you can make thoughtful decisions about rebuilding and strengthening your relationship or going your separate ways.
Marriage counseling is often short term. Marriage counseling typically includes both partners, but sometimes one partner chooses to work with a therapist alone. The specific treatment plan depends on the situation.
Why it's done
Marriage counseling can help couples in all types of intimate relationships — regardless of sexual orientation or marital status.
Some couples seek marriage counseling to strengthen their partnership and gain a better understanding of each other. Marriage counseling can also help couples who plan to get married. Premarital counseling can help couples achieve a deeper understanding of each other and iron out differences before marriage.
In other cases, couples seek marriage counseling to improve a troubled relationship. You can use marriage counseling to help with many specific issues, including:
Conflicts about child rearing or blended families
Marriage counseling might also be helpful in cases of domestic abuse. If violence has escalated to the point that you're afraid, however, counseling alone isn't adequate. Contact the police or a local shelter or crisis center for emergency support.
Family therapy is a type of counseling that helps family members improve communication and resolve conflicts. It may include all family members or just those able or willing to participate. Your specific treatment plan will depend on your family’s situation. Family therapy sessions can teach you skills to deepen family connections and get through stressful times, even after going to therapy sessions.
Family counseling can help you improve troubled relationships with your spouse, children, or other family members. You may address specific issues such as marital or financial problems, a conflict between parents and children, or the impact of substance abuse or a mental illness on the entire family.
Your family may pursue family therapy along with other types of mental health treatment, especially if one of you has a mental illness or addiction that also requires individual therapy or rehabilitation treatment.
• Family therapy can help family members cope if a relative has schizophrenia — but the person who has schizophrenia should continue with his or her individualized treatment plan, which may include medications, one-on-one counseling, or other treatment.
• In the case of addiction, the family can attend family counseling while the person who has an addiction participates in residential treatment. Sometimes the family may participate in family therapy even if the addicted person has not sought out his or her treatment.
Family therapy can be helpful in any family situation that causes stress, grief, anger, or conflict. It can help you, and your family members understand one another better and bring you closer together. Family therapy typically brings several family members together for therapy sessions. However, a family member may also see a family therapist individually.
During family therapy, you can:
• Examine your family’s ability to solve problems and express thoughts and emotions
• Explore family roles, rules, and behavior patterns to identify issues that contribute to conflict — and ways to work through these issues
• Identify your family’s strengths, such as caring for one another, and weaknesses, such as difficulty confiding in one another