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Strength & Enrichment




QUESTION - What is Marriage or Couples Counseling?
ANSWER - Marital Therapy, also called Couples Counseling, is an effective type of psychotherapy for married couples or intimate partners designed to rebuild their relationship through recognizing and resolving conflicts. (For simplicity, it will be referred to as simply "Marriage Counseling" going forward).

Marriage Counseling provides techniques and insightful feedback for changing what can be changed and learning to cope effectively with what cannot be changed. Marital Therapy helps couples to view things from different perspectives, work through emotional issues that may be keeping them stuck, and learn new ways of behaving and interacting with others.


QUESTION - Why should we consider Marriage Counseling?
ANSWER - Often, by the time a couple arrives in a Marriage Counselor's office they are struggling with a shaky foundation, loss of emotional connection, and little ability to deal with conflict both from within their relationship and from the external pressures of life. Some couples seek Marriage Counseling to strengthen and enrich their bonds and gain a better understanding of each other. In some cases, it can help couples make serious, thoughtful decisions about whether to stay together.

Marriage Counseling is solution-focused, and during the course of therapy the Marriage Therapist will identify and highlight strengths and positive resources within the relationship. The Marriage Therapy process can be rewarding and lead to a happier, healthier relationship.


QUESTION - Is Premarital Counseling effective?
ANSWER - According to research on marriages, Premarital Counseling can reduce the risk of divorce by up to 30% and lead to a significantly happier, healthier marriage.

Premarital Counseling strives to strengthen relationships and prepare couples for future challenges and conflicts while they have fresh, positive energy. Research shows that there is a window of opportunity during the year before the wedding and the six months or so after, when couples get the optimum benefit from Premarital Counseling. Later, negative habits and relationship patterns may become established and much harder to resolve. Premarital Counseling functions as an immunization that boosts a couple's capacity to handle these potential stresses and difficulties.


QUESTION - Who should attend Marriage Counseling?
ANSWER - In Marriage Counseling, typically both partners attend therapy sessions together. Sometimes one partner works with the Marriage Counselor alone, either by choice or because the other partner will not attend. Although it is usually preferred, both partners do not have to take part in sessions for Marital Therapy to be effective since one person making changes can have positive effects on everyone involved.


QUESTION - How long will Marriage Counseling take?
ANSWER - The specific treatment plan for Marriage Therapy depends on each unique situation. Marriage Counseling may require only a few sessions to help weather a crisis or take several months, depending on the number and depth of the issues.

The frequency of Marital Therapy sessions is typically once per week, with about 65% of clients completing Marriage Counseling within 15-20 sessions.


QUESTION - What is the role of the Marriage Counselor?
ANSWER - The Marriage Counselor's primary role as guide and mediator is designed to facilitate working through issues and establish healthier relationship patterns. The Marital Therapist will provide a safe and confidential atmosphere that empowers couples to take control of their own destiny and make vital decisions. The Marriage Therapist delivers relevant and appropriate information to reflect the relationship's difficulties and the potential and direction for change.

A Marriage Counselor can facilitate understanding about the sources of conflict and reactive emotions, as well as help develop communication skills to more openly and effectively solve problems. She will often ask questions about a couple's roles, patterns, rules, goals, and beliefs, to shed light on their symptoms and the way their interactions contribute to problems in the relationship. Effective communication and dialogue normalizes feelings and perceptions, and enables each person to be heard, feel heard and to hear themselves.


QUESTION - What can I expect during Marriage Counseling?
ANSWER - In the first few weeks of Marriage Counseling, couples often feel more hopeful and successful as the Marriage Therapist focuses heavily on establishing positive daily interactions while seeking to identify core issues.

The next few weeks to months may seem more difficult as Marriage Therapy closely examines the couple's styles of conflict and establishes specific guidelines and behavioral changes. Some regression can be expected as the couple is establishing new routines and patterns.

As Marriage Counseling continues to progress, therapy sessions will again start to feel lighter. The appointments become more of a check-in to evaluate progress toward goals and solidify changes. The therapist becomes less involved, and the clients do more of the directing as they bring up more victories over their struggles. The frequency of sessions will often progress to bi-weekly, then once a month, then only as needed.

By the time Marriage Counseling is complete, couples should experience a happier, more satisfying relationship. This stronger foundation includes healthier patterns of communication, problem-solving, intimacy and connection.


QUESTION - What specific issues does Marital Counseling address?
ANSWER - Couples may seek Marriage Counseling to improve a troubled relationship by addressing specific issues, including:


  • Communication problems
  • Conflict resolution
  • Intimacy & Sexual difficulties
  • Conflicts about children, parenting or blended families
  • Financial problems
  • Infidelity & emotional affairs
  • Extended family, including in-laws
  • Employment / schooling
  • Religion
  • Goals & expectations
  • Interests
  • Incompatibility
  • Anger
  • Substance abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Personal psychological problems impacting relationship
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

This list is not exhaustive, but representative of the many issues that can be addressed in Marital Therapy.


QUESTION - What characteristics of a healthy relationship are addressed in Marriage Counseling?
ANSWER - Research suggests seven relationship skills and knowledge areas that contribute to the success and endurance of marriage. All of these areas can be effectively addressed in Marriage Therapy:


  • Compatibility
  • Expectations
  • Personalities & Families-of-Origin
  • Communication
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Intimacy & Sexuality
  • Long-term Goals


Therapists identify these additional characteristics of a healthy relationship that can also be examined in Marriage Counseling:


  • Friendship - knowing each other's likes/dislikes; being comfortable around each other; positive regard for each other; regular shared experiences (e.g., dates, dinners, projects, etc.)
  • Personal Responsibility - accepting personal responsibility for one's contribution to creating conflict; validating each other's viewpoint; accepting each other' influence
  • Commitment - working towards reconciliation when there is a disconnect; holding a longer-term perspective for the relationship; a mutual desire to work toward building and maintaining a healthy relationship


These characteristics of a healthy relationship forge the foundation for a couple's life together. Making the decision to talk about and work on problems with an Indianapolis Marriage Counselor is difficult, but can be tremendously rewarding.






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