How Long Is Too Long for Couples Therapy?
It can be intimidating and scary to join the 49% of couples who attend marriage counseling (or to be part of the 52% who are interested in trying it). Whether you’re currently going to sessions or considering starting, you may be wondering how long this process will take. What’s the average length of marriage counseling? Can you stay in couples therapy too long?
Don’t worry! All your questions will be answered. From our experience working with over 15,000 couples here at Well Marriage Center, we know that the topic of couples counseling can be sensitive, especially when the stakes feel so high. Let’s get started with some of the most common questions about couples counseling.
Note: At Well Marriage Center, we use the terms “marriage counseling,” “couples counseling,” and “couples therapy” interchangeably, and we offer our services to any couple—regardless of their marital status. The term “marriage” can be exclusionary or uncomfortable, and we aim to provide an environment that’s welcoming to all couples. What matters most is you, your relationship, and your desire to rediscover joy with your partner.
How Long Do Couples Usually Go to Therapy?
In general, the average length of couples therapy that we see at Well Marriage Center is 12-25 sessions. This takes place over the course of 4 to 10 months. However, the specific number of how many marriage counseling sessions are needed will be determined by your therapist, your unique relationship, and how you and your partner are progressing. Each individual session is typically around the 50 minute mark, although this will vary depending on your therapist.
How Long Is Too Long for Marriage Counseling?
There really isn’t an exact answer to this question because every relationship is different, and every marriage counseling provider has a different approach based on each couple’s unique needs. It’s also important to keep the end goal in mind: a healthy, thriving relationship. Couples therapy is typically designed to be a shorter-term commitment, as opposed to individual therapy, which many people benefit from attending for years. If you’re worried about couples therapy dragging on forever, be sure to ask your provider about the timeline.
If you’re feeling like you have been in couples therapy for too long, be sure to consider if you have met your end goal. Have you and your partner learned and implemented communication skills? Are there any unresolved trust or commitment issues lingering? Have you addressed the problems that brought you to couples counseling in the first place? Has your therapist given any guidelines or suggested a potential end goal?
If you and your partner are confident that you have met your end goal, then it’s definitely appropriate to have a conversation with your counselor about wrapping up your sessions. However, if there is still work to be done, then you may want to consider trying a different approach or provider.
How Long To Try Marriage Counseling Before Divorce
Here at Well Marriage, our focus is on helping couples find their way back to each other. When you’re in the midst of a relationship with serious challenges, we know it can feel overwhelming or even impossible to heal and restore things. But rest assured—there is hope! Our counselors practice pro-relationship counseling, an approach that prioritizes the revitalization of your relationship. We’ve seen so many couples who are convinced they are on the road to splitting up realize through the process of couples therapy that their journey together isn’t over yet.
When To Stop Marriage Counseling
No matter if you call it “marriage counseling” or “couples therapy,” the fact is that your sessions are not going to last forever. There will come a point where you and your partner have learned how to communicate better and are building a healthy relationship together. In general, look for signs that marriage counseling is working:
- You and your partner don’t have as much conflict
- You have great communication strategies in place (and are practicing them!)
- You’ve settled on realistic solutions to issues
- Your relationship is happier and healthier
Your goals will vary, of course, and it’s also a fantastic idea to talk with your counselor about when to stop marriage counseling. After all, they want the same thing that you do—a thriving relationship. The goal of couples therapy isn’t to stay in couples therapy forever, so it’s completely appropriate to ask your therapist about the process and what signals they look for.
Is It Worth Going to Couples Therapy?
Absolutely! In fact, we think it’s one of the most beneficial steps you can take for your relationship. We believe that almost every relationship can be transformed into a vibrant partnership, as long as both people are willing to put in the work.
Often people ask things like, “can couples therapy save my relationship?” It’s important to remember that there are so many variables involved, and every relationship will be different. Because of this, it’s difficult to properly assess the effectiveness of couples therapy and impossible to answer this question with a direct yes or no. However, one study found that going through couples counseling can improve outcomes for couples, like relationship satisfaction, communication skills, and general well-being.
Well Marriage: Couples Therapy Customized for You
Through our experiences at Well Marriage Center, we’ve seen incredible results time after time. We specialize in couples and use a variety of techniques to meet the needs of each unique relationship. Our counselors use empirically-backed approaches and interventions like:
- Dr. Ellyn Bader – Developmental Model of Couples Therapy (our personal favorite)
- Dr. John Gottman – Gottman Institute
- Dr. Sue Johnson – Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
- Dr. Harville Hendrix – Imago Therapy
- Dr. Esther Perel – Eroticism and Desire
- Dr. Terry Real – Relational Life Institute
We’ll work closely with you to make sure that your couples therapy is the right length and uses techniques that are fitted to your relationship goals and challenges. If you’re interested in learning more, we invite you to privately explore our website and learn more about what we offer, where we’re located, and what our services cost.