Counseling for Couples
There a number of different types of counseling services offered for couples including the following: Traditional Couple's Counseling; Pre-Marital Counseling; Same-Sex Couple's Counseling; and Separation Counseling.
Many times couples seek out the services of a therapist because they are having difficulty communicating in their relationship. This usually means that there are a lot of negative feelings in the relationship and that both persons in the relationship are struggling to find the strong connection that they once shared with their partner. Couple’s counseling can help to restore harmony between two people. This can include communication work, conflict management, and perhaps even dealing with trust issues in the relationship.
Here is a brief sampling of the services that a therapist can provide to assist couples:
• Conflict Resolution
• Sex Therapy
• Relationship Enhancement
The focus of pre-marital counseling is to assist clients in negotiating and dealing with important issues in their relationships before they become problems. I prefer to use the Prepare/Enrich Pre-Marital Counseling program as it focuses on areas of strength as well as areas for future improvement. Using this program, couples can identify future areas of stress in their relationship and then work as a collaborative team to resolve those potential conflicts. The Prepare/Enrich program was developed over 30 years ago and has helped over 3 million couples. Here is what you can expect from the Prepare/Enrich program (per their website):
• Explore strength and growth areas
• Strengthen communication skills
• Identify and manage major stressors
• Resolve conflict using the Ten Step Model
• Develop a more balanced relationship
• Explore family of origin issues
• Discuss financial planning and budgeting
• Establish personal, couple and family goals
• Understand and appreciate personality differences
For more information about Prepare/Enrich, please click on the following link:
LGBT clients oftentimes have difficulty finding a counselor that has experience working with couples in a same sex relationship. While there are a lot of common characteristics shared by both heterosexual & homosexual couples, there are some unique factors that need to be considered when working with same sex couples. For example, issues such as homophobia, the coming out process, sex, and family relationships are oftentimes important topics for couples in a same sex relationship. Same sex couples don’t often experience the same support that heterosexual couples are given and this can create for stress in a same sex relationship. Couples in same sex relationships need a counselor that understands the unique challenges faced both in their individual lives as well as their relationships and it is important to have a counselor that respects those challenges and the persons living through them. I have worked with couples, families & individuals that identify as LGBT and have helped them by providing couple’s counseling, family counseling and group counseling.
For some couples, they are not as interested in working on restoring harmony in their relationship, but are more interested in working through the separation process. Deciding to separate can be a difficult decision and oftentimes people are left with strong feelings of grief and loss. The services of a counselor can assist in moving forward from a separation and letting go of the grief and loss associated with the end of a relationship. This is especially helpful if children are involved and the former partners now need to learn how to become co-parents that are still able to communicate and work well with one another.