Marriage, Couples & Relationship Counselling

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What is marriage & couples counselling?

Marriage counselling, also called couples counselling, helps couples — married or not — understand and resolve conflicts and improve their relationship. Marriage counselling gives couples the tools to communicate better, negotiate differences, problem solve and even argue in a healthier way.

Marriage counselling is often short term.  You may need only a few sessions to help you weather a crisis or for several months, particularly if your relationship has greatly deteriorated.  As with individual psychotherapy, you typically see a marriage counsellor once a week.

The benefits of marriage & couples counselling

Most marriages and other relationships aren't perfect. Each person brings his or her own ideas, values, opinions and personal history into a relationship, and they don't always match their partner's.  Those differences don't necessarily mean your relationship is bound for conflict.  To the contrary, differences can be complementary — you know the saying about opposites attracting.  These differences can also help people understand, respect and accept opposing views and cultures.


But relationships can be tested.  Differences or habits that you once found endearing may grate on your nerves after time together.  Sometimes specific issues, such as an extramarital affair or loss of sexual attraction, trigger problems in a relationship.  Other times, there's a gradual disintegration of communication and caring.


No matter the cause, distress in a relationship can create undue stress, tension, sadness, worry, fear and other problems.  You may hope your relationship troubles just go away on their own.  But left to fester, a bad relationship may only worsen and eventually lead to physical or psychological problems, such as depression.  A bad relationship can also create problems on the job and affect other family members or even friendships as people feel compelled to take sides.


Here are typical issues that marriage counselling can help you and a spouse or partner cope with:

Infidelity

Divorce

Substance abuse

Physical or mental conditions

Same-sex relationship issues

Cultural clashes

Finances

Unemployment

Blended families

Communication problems

Sexual difficulties

Conflicts about child rearing

Infertility

Anger

Changing roles, such as retirement

Strengthening bonds

You don't need to have a troubled relationship to seek therapy.  Marriage counselling can also help couples who simply want to strengthen their bonds and gain a better understanding of each other.  Marriage counselling can also help couples who plan to get married.  This pre-marriage counselling can help you achieve a deeper understanding of each other and iron out differences before a union is sealed.

How does marriage & couples counselling work?

Marriage counselling typically brings couples or partners together for joint therapy sessions.  The counsellor or therapist helps couples pinpoint and understand the sources of their conflicts and try to resolve them.  You and your partner will analyse both the good and bad parts of your relationship.

Separate individual therapy sessions may be required between joint therapy sessions.

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