The idea of marriage counseling has been around a long time.
However, there has been a shift in theory and in practice.
In early times, both premarital and marriage counseling was often offered by family elders.
In fact, many societies expected elders to discuss marriage issues with couples, before they got married and during the marriage.
During those times, family units often included an extended family that lived together or in close proximity. Therefore, the extended family was likely to witness and confront difficulties in the marriage early on.
However, many families now live great distances from extended family members and difficulties are often not made as clear to others.
Due to the changing nature of family, many couples that require marriage advice, often seek professional marriage counseling services. Couples may decide to pay a marriage and family counselor to help their family confront issues that have caused difficulties.
The cost of those services varies greatly and it depends on many factors. First, couples with medical insurance will likely pay significantly less than those that do not.
Secondly, some counselors offer additional services, such as group therapy, and those services can add to the cost significantly.
Many couples find that they simply cannot afford marriage counseling. However, there are options for those couples. Many churches and religious organizations offer free or low-cost counseling to families that qualify.
In addition, many websites offer free online counseling sessions to married couples. Those sites will also likely include forums so that couples and individual spouses can take part in open discussions regarding marriage difficulties.
Often, forums allow people to offer advice on what has worked to help make their marriage work. In any case, couples should be sure that they are comfortable with the option they have selected.
For example, nonreligious couples are not likely to benefit from religious counseling. In addition, both spouses should be comfortable with their counselor.
In some cases, one spouse may feel that they are being attacked and blamed for any failures in the marriage and this will lead to ineffective counseling sessions.
Couples that make their selection carefully, are likely to leave counseling with positive results for all family members.
The idea of marriage counseling is not new. However, the manner in which it is practiced and applied continues to evolve as relationship ideals shift.
In the past, marriage counseling was often sought from older family members, so that all issues were kept within the family.
In addition, many church elders were responsible for couples’ contentment and would offer marriage counseling to couples that required outside help for dealing with their problems.
However, counseling received through churches, often contained a religious element, and churches often discourage any option that included couples separation, even in cases of abuse and severe difficulties.
In general, churches do not condone divorce for any reason, as it is considered a sin.
Nowadays, churches have become more open-minded about marriages, but they still often try to advise couples to stay together no matter what difficulties they are experiencing. Some couples wish to seek counseling in the absence of a religious element.
In that case, couples can seek the advice of a certified marriage counselor. In fact, that is the most common manner for couples to seek help with their marriage.
Statistics of marriage counseling’s effectiveness are not very reliable. Besides, statistics are not always indicative of success rates for couples, as each couple is unique and handles problems differently.
For some couples, the measure of marital counseling’s effectiveness is the ensuing individual happiness and confidence that results, even when they are unable to make the relationship work.
There are many benefits to marriage and family counseling. In fact, spouses are not the only family members that benefit from counseling services.
Children can also benefit from parents’ ability to more effectively deal with any family issues, even if they decide to separate.
Children learn a lot of from parents’ reactions to situations and counseling can teach parents how to handle issues in an appropriate manner.
In addition, they will be more likely to have an open line of communication with their children as a result of counseling.
Also, extended family can benefit from a stronger family bond created by an overall increase in effective family communication. The benefits of counseling will likely be different for every family.
In fact, the benefits will depend greatly on the type of problem a family is experiencing. In some cases, the problem includes all family members and in others, it is strictly a problem between spouses.
However, if families can avoid placing blame, they are often able to resolve current and future problems by utilizing effective conflict resolution techniques learned in therapy.
Even spouses that separate, find that marriage and family counseling is generally helpful for individual family members and for the family unit as a whole.
The cost of marriage and family counseling will depend on many factors. First, some counseling services provide for both individual and group family sessions.
Those types of sessions tend to be more expensive than services that focus on the whole family unit in all sessions.
Couples are able to decide which types of sessions will work best for them and their family. However, individuals will be expected to take part in separate sessions if personal difficulties are adversely affecting the family unit.
In fact, progress can be slow if any family member refuses to do their part to work towards conflict resolution and mutual respect.
For example, an alcoholic parent may take part in substance abuse counseling separately, but in collaboration with family sessions. Those sessions will likely be necessary for the family to make any progress.
The cost will also depend on the length of time that a family takes part in sessions. Generally, family therapy does not last for more than a few months unless there are very extreme circumstances.
Families that have health insurance, will generally pay significantly less than families without it. However, families without health insurance can often find counselors that will offer them a sliding scale fee based on income.
There is also a free family service available from government agencies and other organizations. In essence, any family can generally find affordable counseling services when they are necessary.
Statistics suggest that marriage counseling can be effective for certain couples. However, effectiveness depends on many factors.
Since fifty percent of marriages in the United States currently end in divorce, some couples are willing to do anything to avoid becoming a part of that statistic.
In fact couples that are willing to change and work together to achieve better conflict resolution skills, often find that they can find success in marriage and family counseling.
In addition, statistics vary based on the desired outcome. For some couples, the purpose of counseling is not necessarily to save their marriage but to save their family.
In fact, statistics indicate that many couples have already decided to divorce before they enter family counseling.
In that case, couples are trying to make the transition easy for all family members. Statistics on success rates are difficult to interpret as they depend greatly on each individual’s desired result.
The effectiveness of marriage and family counseling mostly depends on the individuals involved.
While the marriage counselor’s ability is also a factor, couples cannot succeed without a willingness to change and work together on shared goals. In fact, the sooner couples seek counseling, the more likely they are to benefit from counseling services.
Couples that have allowed problems to linger are likely to encounter greater difficulties in family counseling.
In addition, couples that have shared goals, are also likely to have better success rates than couples that do not. Younger couples that are not set in their ways, often find marriage counseling to be more effective.
The reason is that they are still able to effect change without as much compromise as couples that have lived a certain way for a very long time.
Couples that enter counseling with open minds and a desire to work things out, often find that it is an effective tool for helping spouses and their family.
Free Marriage Counseling:
Free marriage counseling can be found online or through organizations such as churches or nonprofits. Couples can also access free online marriage forums so that they can find support from others that have experienced similar difficulties in their relationship. In many cases, couples may be involved in real-time discussions in which people offer ideas that a couple may not have considered.
Yet, some couples need in-person counseling as well. Couples can often find free counseling at churches or religious organizations.
Often, couples have great success with religious counseling if they are both religious. However, some issues can be difficult to discuss with religious elders.
In fact, many couples find that they cannot discuss certain issues in a religious setting, which can mean that couples avoid discussing important problems.
That couple may seek free marital counseling from another type of non-profit, such as state-run family services. Free family and marriage counseling can be just as effective as expensive counseling.
Often, the results depend on the willingness of each couple. If couples are open to change and willing to hear each other out, while remaining calm, they can greatly benefit from any type of family and marriage counseling.
Premarital counseling is often utilized by couples in order to reach a mutual understanding of marital expectations. In fact, premarital counseling can be extremely beneficial for couples that have decided to get married.
In their sessions, couples explain and discuss all of their expectations for their marriage. For example, couples may discuss how many children they want, how far apart in age they would like them to be, and the most appropriate child-rearing techniques.
Couples that forgo premarital counseling, often find themselves surprised by their spouse’s expectations.
Pre-marriage counseling helps couples to achieve an honest understanding of each spouse’s expectations and specific desired outcomes.
Another benefit of premarital counseling is that couples generally gain better conflict resolution skills by learning to listen to their partner while adding in their own ideas and opinions into the discussion in a calm and considerate way.
Role and Importance of Counselor:
While many couples consider cost when selecting their marriage counselor, they are more important considerations.
First, the counselor should be located in a convenient location so that couples can easily attend all of the required sessions or support groups that are available. Obviously, couples should also check the credentials of their counselor.
In many states, family counselors undergo family therapy certification to ensure that they will be effective and knowledgeable.
In addition, many counselors will be affiliated with certain organizations and that can add to their training and knowledge on certain techniques.
However, the most important factor is that both spouses are comfortable with their counselor. If either individual is not comfortable, or unable to trust their counselor, they are not likely to be open and honest.
In addition, spouses will be less likely to take advice from anyone that they are not comfortable with.
The role of a family and marriage counselor is to provide couples with the knowledge and confidence to deal with relationship issues on their own.
The role of a counselor is not to simply listen, but to enable spouses to find new ways to deal with conflict and to offer couples a better mutual respect for how the other feels.