If you’re having problems with your marriage, you could be hurt, frustrated or confused about the direction in which to turn. You and your spouse may have considered marriage counseling but are unsure of what to expect. Will it really work? How much will you need to share? Will the counselor take sides? Knowing what to expect can make it easier for you to decide whether it’s the right step for you and your spouse.
As far as this process goes, you can start any time. If you both agree that it’s worth trying, you’ll want to schedule an appointment as soon as you can. Each counselor will be available at their own time. Some offer evening/weekend sessions to cater for working couples while others accept insurance as payment. When scheduling an appointment, raise any concerns you may be having about financial arrangements, scheduling or the counselor’s credentials to make sure the arrangement works for your marriage.
A typical session for you and your spouse could take between one and two hours. Before commencing, you will need to complete the insurance forms and paperwork where necessary and go over the confidentiality limits. The counselor will then introduce him/herself and answer any initial queries raised by any of you.
Because each one has their own technique, beliefs and approach, they may spend time going over their views and experiences so that you know what to expect and also to make you comfortable. They will then provide you with an opportunity to explain why you went for counseling. The first session will mainly be spent with both partners airing their views about their problems and what they’d want to accomplish in the process.
The therapist may ask various questions in order to obtain the history of the relationship. The session will conclude with discussions about the relevance of therapy for your situation and if this is the case, a schedule to commence regular sessions will be drawn up. Their frequency will depend on the necessity, but are usually on a weekly basis.
Therapy can be done in several ways, but most therapists will schedule sessions with both spouses together, as well as some individual appointments with the wife and husband. The latter provide an opportunity for both parties to air their concerns freely. The therapist will then get a clear illustration of the existing problems and will start providing suggestions and guidance for the couple. In most cases, the couple is given homework outside the sessions to enable them begin communication while at home about the issues discussed in the sessions. The therapist will usually not take sides and shouldn’t be judgmental towards anyone.
Therapy may last from a few sessions to well over a year, depending on the issues at hand. Things such as substance abuse, pornography, substance abuse and other sensitive issues may need intensive attention to repair trust in the relationship. It may therefore be hard to predict the amount of time necessary.
The therapist will work on the goals and continue to provide guidance throughout the procedure. As you start making progress and begin achieving the objectives, the therapy will ease out to allow more time to work on the issues. When both parties and the therapist agree that the goals have been met, the counseling process will end.