Reading Our Approach is probably the best way to understand what marriage counseling (couples counseling) is about at Well Marriage Center. It’s probably the most important document we’ve written to help you discover if we are the right fit for you and your relationship. But if you’ve already read it, the most common concern we get from couples has to do with the “unknown” of marriage counseling. The “unknown” always produces the most anxiety.
So let’s explore 5 “knowns” of marriage/couples counseling at Well Marriage Center:
Choosing a Couples Specialist is Important
Let me begin by telling you that the person/Center you choose to help you with your relationship is very important. We’re grateful you are considering us. We highlight it all over our website – we believe you are in the very best and capable hands here at Well Marriage Center. Any of our therapists are great choices! All of our therapists are specialists in relationships…and work exclusively with relationships. Experience, training, continuing education, supervision, research – it all focuses on relationships with us.
(The top marriage counseling complaint from couples is that the therapists just did a lot of listening and seemed overwhelmed with how to get in it with them and help. You won’t find that here. All of our counselors get in there with you. Experience and training helps us gently confront when necessary and give it to you straight. We’re active and involved with you.)
Well Marriage Center Quality
Quality in our profession means time. Our counseling hour is approximately 55 minutes. We get a lot done in 55 minutes. But your initial (first) assessment with us lasts between 90 – 120 minutes. We block off this extra time because time is quality. Time is important. It allows us to slow down a bit, listen to how you met, listen to some of your favorite experiences together and what they show us, uncover some of the strengths you have as a couple, and explore what has brought you into counseling for your relationship. You won’t leave a first session with us feeling like you were rushed.
(We’re all marriage-friendly therapists. We hold the hope for your relationship. Couples often tell us they appreciate this most after the first assessment…they say they leave feeling like the counselor has hope for them.)
Getting in a Rhythm
Most couples want to know how long they need to be in therapy. There’s no easy answer without understanding what particular challenge your relationship is facing. Often the difficulty has been brewing for years. Research tells us it’s important to help couples get in a rhythm with couples counseling. We start with weekly sessions. After your initial assessment, many couples choose to do session 2 and session 3 separately, feeling more freedom to talk with the counselor about life and marriage from their perspective. This is important time for us. We want to get to know you, both as an individual and as a partner in this relationship. Don’t be surprised if we’re exploring how you’ve contributed to both the good and the not-so-good of your relationship. Session 4 and all following sessions are normally together unless agreed upon by you and the therapist.
Change Takes Time and Effort
The easy fix is a myth, especially when it comes to our most intimate relationships. We’ve been doing this a long time. While we do practice “brief therapy,” we also trust change that happens over 7 to 10 months to a year much more than change that happens in 3 months. Most couples do between 12 and 25 sessions…depending on your relationship. There are many couples who do more. While other counselors at other institutions will do them all at a weekly clip and be done in a few months, we’re quicker to start spreading out your sessions to every other week and eventually to once a month. It’s the same number of sessions – we just hang with you longer. Overwhelmingly couples appreciate this and it’s more affordable to spread the cost over time.
A “Well Marriage” that Lasts
Couples often tell us (and I agree) that the work we do after the problems are solved has been the most important and longest lasting work they’ve done. That’s the ethos of the wellness approach. As your relationship gets better, we explore why it’s getting better and what it means for your future moving forward. This type of work helps prevent most relapses that put you back in the office. It’s a piece of our specialty that is very good for your marriage.
You probably have additional questions. Please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call us or check out our FAQ page. It’s a difficult decision. We know you are a unique couple with a unique circumstance and challenge. We believe we can be helpful to you. It is the great honor of this profession to “be of help” with your most intimate relationship. Thanks for exploring our website.