Challenging issues in a relationship can be tough to work through on your own. And research tells us that it takes over two and a half years before couples attempt to address their concerns through marriage counseling. But is counseling really worth it? The Journal of Marital and Family Therapy estimates that the marriage counseling success rate is about 70% and, in some instances, the longer you attend counseling, the higher your chances of success. Of course, the average length of marriage counseling is different for every couple, but ultimately you should expect 10 – 25 sessions for success. Each counseling plan should be tailored to your specific needs.
At Well Marriage Center, we believe that creating a customized plan around your goals can help you and your significant other discover a renewed, more mature, intimacy and partnership. In this blog, we’re going to talk about marriage counseling (also known as couples therapy) and how long you should expect your sessions to last.
How Long Does Couples Therapy Take to Work?
Couples therapy lasts between 10 and 25 sessions on average. A typical therapy plan will most likely have you attend more frequently at the beginning of your counseling (around once a week) and lessen over time (to around once a month). Depending on your progress, the number of sessions will be determined by your therapist. After deciding what would be beneficial for you as a couple and what your end goals are, counseling could last up to a few years to complete successfully. Don’t let this be daunting, however. Healing and growing your marriage takes commitment, but has proven successful for over 12,000 couples with Well Marriage CenterOne of the biggest predictors of marriage counseling success is the experience of your therapist, and our therapists have devoted their careers to helping couples like you.
To make the most of your time, you should follow these actions to increase the likelihood of success:
- Set personal goals to:
- Address what you’re bringing to the table
- How they impact your relationship
- What steps you can take to acknowledge your shortcomings
- Ways to change your behaviors.
Marriage counseling is not a place to point fingers at your partner. Remember that they will be taking the same steps as you.Reliving blame can perpetuate toxic cycles instead of finding a way forward.
- Find vulnerability in the safe space so you can be open and honest about how you’re feeling. Holding back feelings of anger, annoyance, resentment, helplessness, and embarrassment helps no one—especially yourself. Telling your partner how you feel might open new doors for stronger communication.
- Give the benefit of the doubt and don’t assume your partner is being insincere or dishonest. Part of accepting and acknowledging this is recognizing your intentions and insecurities.
- Understand that partnership isn’t making each other whole. Be a “whole” person independent of your significant other. Relying on your partner to meet all of your needs for happiness puts a lot of pressure on them, which can lead to anger and resentment, rather than love and support.
- Put in the time and effort your partnership requires. Rather than counting down the sessions, go into each one with an open mind and willingness to participate. You won’t find success without putting in the work.
When it comes to marriage counseling and what to expect, Well Marriage Center likes to address the following first:
- interrupt toxic cycles you may be stuck in (arguments, high conflict, blame game, criticisms)
- generate a little momentum and spark (disconnected, sexless couples, cold relationships)
- address trauma that your relationship may be experiencing (infidelity, loss, old or new trauma)
Making progress with these goals are significant signs marriage counseling is working. Seeing improvement is great! Depending on your goals as a couple and as individuals, you may work out a longer plan with your therapist. You should expect to attend all of the sessions laid out in your initial settings as part of your larger plan to really introduce and implement new techniques in your relationship and make sure they stick.
Is Couples Counseling a Bad Thing?
Absolutely not! Attending counseling does not mean your partnership has failed, it means you want it to succeed. Couples counseling is an important solution to working through issues with your partner. While we would all like to avoid confronting the faults in our relationship, marriage counseling can be a beneficial and positive experience. Not only that, but investing in couples counseling is important to show you’re committed to making the relationship work. A good therapist will make you feel comfortable as a couple with a safe space to voice your feelings and guide you through any rough patches you might encounter. Counseling can be difficult, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.
It’s also important to note that therapy can still be a resource after the initial reasons for visiting are resolved. After therapy, many couples work yearly visits with their therapist into their long term plans to promote commitment, accountability, and communication. Going to therapy while the relationship is in a good place can be beneficial too, as it lays positive groundwork for the future. As part of our mission to help all couples build a better future together, Well Marriage Center even offers therapeutic premarital and dating services for those who are in committed relationships regardless of their legal status.
Marriage Counseling Built for You
At Well Marriage Center, we know marriage counseling actually works and we have the numbers to prove it! Even in situations when the couple believed it would be too late or the relationship was too damaged, we’ve seen therapy turn it around in thousands of our clients. We make time for you to work through your strengths and weaknesses as a couple so we can learn about you and help us develop a plan specifically for you.