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Marriage Counseling vs. Couples Therapy: What's the Difference?

May 11

Couples therapy, or marriage and family therapy, is a form of psychotherapy that aims to improve communication and conflict resolution skills in couples.

Relations with loved ones may be rewarding and challenging. The more you know about yourself, the more you'll be able to relate to others (including your spouse), deal with stress, and go about your daily activities with ease.

One of the most significant partnerships in your life is your marriage. Keeping your expectations in check, on the other hand, is crucial. As with every relationship, there will be "good points" and "poor points" in every marriage. That's a common occurrence.

During the "highs," you and your partner will feel close, in love, and enthusiastic about one another. On the other hand, you or your partner may become distant, aloof, and/or furious with each other when you're experiencing the "lows." Arguments might escalate to the point where you're contemplating a divorce or a legal separation. It might linger for weeks or even years depending on the individual.

More Frequently Asked Questions About Marital Counseling

Is it mandatory that we both attend marriage counseling? It's up for debate. Although your therapist may choose to see you and your husband separately from time to time, couples counseling sessions are often held together.

Can I Benefit from Marriage Counseling? As long as both partners are willing to put in the time and effort to improve their relationship, marital counseling may be very beneficial. To get the best possible results, each patient's therapy will be individually adjusted. Even though marriage therapy focuses on marital difficulties, it also addresses a wide range of issues, including the loss and/or chronic illness of a family member (i.e. substance abuse and depression).

What Is the Purpose of Marriage Counseling? During marital counseling, you will learn the necessary skills to make your relationship stronger.

Is Marriage and Family Therapy for Couples a Form of Counseling? The term "marriage counseling" encompasses both individual and group sessions. Traditional marriage counseling is not as extensive as this sort of treatment. Couples and families can benefit from a more comprehensive approach to their problems via marriage and family counseling. I'm not sure what that means. It requires the participation of all members of the family.

A Marriage and Family Therapy Session typically consists of the following: As part of a typical family therapy session, the family may be asked to participate in a variety of activities. Getting honest with your therapist and spouse about how you really feel is also a good idea. Communication and conflict resolution are two of the most important aspects of marital and family therapy. All of your therapist's tasks and assignments will be your responsibility. Your spouse may be assigned communication activities at home to do during a session with the expectation that you will report your findings at the following meeting.

Marriage Therapy

Do You Know The Different Stages Of Relationship?

Before we get too far, let's just say that relationships are never static. Most, if not all, relationships progress through a series of stages. Moreover, the majority of couples move through these stages at different points in their relationship. During these times, "issues" can occur at any time. In the event that an issue does arise, you will be better equipped to handle it if you are aware of the risks.

In a relationship, you go through several stages:

The first step is to be enthused.

In the early stages of a relationship, there is generally a lot of lust involved. When you first meet and fall in love with your soul mate, now is the time to do it. Stage 1 is commonly referred to as the "honeymoon stage" due to its focus on love and romance.

In the beginning of any relationship, the world appears brighter, more vibrant. At this time, you will begin to establish a mutual regard for each other as well as an intimate relationship and genuine adoration. Keep in mind that this is merely a temporary situation. The initial excitement wears off and is replaced with a sense of routine after a while. You need to change things up and try something new to revive your passion when this happens.

The next step is realizing what you've done.

If you're in a long-term relationship, you'll eventually have to face the reality that your initial enthusiasm has faded. You and your partner should take this opportunity to discuss your future intentions for marriage. At this point, you and your spouse begin to see each other as imperfect individuals.

As you get to know each other better and begin to see one other in person, your respect for one another grows. At this point in your relationship, you are more comfortable revealing aspects of your personality that were previously hidden during the "honeymoon stage."

In this stage, it's important to remember that it has its own challenges. Disappointment, frustration, and a wide range of other emotions are common throughout Stage #2. If you and your team have good communication and conflict resolution skills, you can navigate through any rough waters.

Insurgency is the third stage.

At this stage, the focus goes back to your own interests. Many couples have this problem when they're in the rebellious period. In place of "all about us," "all about myself" is the new phrase. As a result, conflict may emerge if you and your spouse are unable to resolve disagreements amicably.

Conflicts of this nature are almost guaranteed to arise during the third stage. Why? Because at this point, a power struggle is unavoidable. As a couple, you both feel that your approach to life is the greatest and that you are nearly always accurate.

Make sure you and your spouse discuss the issue in a courteous manner when this happens. Weakening your relationship is inevitable if you blame each other and/or talk over each other and/or allow resentment, wrath, and impatience to take over.

The fourth step is collaboration.

When a couple has a family, a job, and a mortgage, it's normal for them to have to work together to make ends meet. It might feel like a commercial transaction at this point, lacking love, romance, and intimacy.

Putting these "essential components" on the backburner is a common practice among couples trying to "manage" life and all of its many responsibilities and obligations. It's important to keep in mind that this stage might last up to 20 years if you have children.

The fifth step is the reunion.

Once your children have flown the coop or grown up, you and your partner may reconnect yourself. Having less responsibilities means you'll be able to relax and enjoy the "quiet," "security," and "stability." Connect with old friends and loved ones during this time. You rediscover your love for each other and the reasons you got married in the first place and/or remained together for so long while you're at the reunion stage.

The sixth step is an explosion.

The explosion stage is the sixth phase. During this time, you'll likely encounter a number of important life events, some of which may be tough to handle as a couple. An unexpected death in the family, a job loss, financial issues, or a serious health condition are just a few instances of life-altering events that can trigger grief.

As a result of having to confront these challenges together, you and your partner will most likely become closer. As a result, you rely on one another in times of distress.

On the other side, if you and your partner have trouble resolving disagreements and misunderstandings, this time period may further isolate you. A relationship can be poisoned by sentiments of bitterness, fury, desolation and frustration elicited by this.

To be clear, the explosion stage can occur at any moment in the partnership, creating major disruptions to the current state of the relationship.

Completeness is the final step.

The ultimate stage is completion. At this time in your life, you have children of your own and are nearing retirement. This is the time to focus on yourself and your spouse, and begin planning your future together. At this point in their relationship, couples tend to be quite close and intimate.

After enduring the ups and downs of a long-term relationship or decades of marriage, the completion stage might feel serene and pleasant. All that matters here is to have fun with each other.

In what ways might couples therapy be beneficial?

Couples may have disagreements as they go through different stages of their relationship and confront different challenges. Conflicts of a more serious kind can develop a rift between you and your spouse, even if they start off little. Even in the most difficult confrontations, you may begin to doubt whether or not a resolution is even possible, let alone desirable.

When you and your partner begin to drift away, you may discover that you and your partner have different priorities in life. Additionally, you or your partner may be feeling "stuck" in a relationship with no exit. Before going to couples counseling, you and/or your spouse must first admit that your marriage is in trouble. In order to "fix" a broken relationship, you'll need to make that decision as a couple.

In this case, marriage and family counseling might be quite beneficial. Indeed, marriage and family therapists may help you and your family improve communication, therefore resolving long-standing emotional problems.

First, you need to decide whether or not you want to go to marital therapy. To save a marriage, you and your spouse must first realize that it is in trouble.

If you and your spouse are on Long Island and in need of a marriage therapist, please contact:

Dr. Maryann B Schaefer Psychotherapy
5 Travers Street
Manhasset, NY 11030
(516) 627-1145