Marriage counseling questions and answers
Here is a review by a knowledgeable and caring professional on the many couple counseling options available and the differences between them.
Having the ‘right’ relationship help may make the difference between relationship happiness and divorce!
Read this relationship help guide to get the answers you need.
Couples in a committed relationship or marriage are smart people — they know that their relationship with their partner is the most important part of their lives!
Yet when there are problems in your marriage or committed relationship, finding help is not always easy.
When you are seeking relationship help, certainly you will have many questions about which are the best resources available to fix a broken marriage or committed relationship.
Current State of Committed Relationships and Marriages
Relationship success is more difficult than it has ever been in the past. In North America, the divorce rate for first-time marriages is around 40% to 50%. For second and third marriages, the divorce rate is even higher! I suspect that these numbers are probably true for the entire civilized world.
If these statistics are not bad enough, research shows that of those couples who remain married, over 50% feel they married the wrong partner. This means, that even those couples who manage to stay married are unhappy. In sum, around 75% of couples that marry end up unsatisfied with their partner.
Having a successful marriage or committed relationship is challenging. To succeed, if you are like many couples, you need to work on your marriage or committed relationship to make it healthy, happy, and long-lasting.
However, there is good news mixed with some bad: There are a wealth of services and support for relationships in trouble — some good and some bad. Perform your research, weed out the bogus so called relationship help, and you CAN find legitimate and effective assistance in a variety of formats.
Does Divorce Make People Happy?
For those people in unhappy marriages or committed relationships, the promise of a ‘happy life’ after a divorce often is a promise not kept.
A great amount of consistent research over many years has shown that for most individuals who divorce they never achieve the happiness they had hoped for when leaving their partner.
As well, and of great importance, research has consistently shown that most children are negatively impacted when their parents split-up. (There are exceptions when divorce is necessary. Fortunately, these situations are rare).
More than ever, all of us need to work hard to achieve relationship success and prevent relationship unhappiness, separation, or divorce.
Don’t wait until your marriage or committed relationship becomes so damaged that your husband or wife wants a divorce work or your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to break up with you! Get help when ‘relationship sickness’ strikes.
Take the Free, Confidential Healthy Relationship Quiz and learn what areas of your relationship you can improve to make your relationship healthier and stronger.
Relationship Problems? — Where Can You Find Help…
As with a serious medical problem you would seek help from doctors, so too if you have a serious relationship problem you should seek help from a properly trained relationship specialist.
Don’t be foolish and ignore your relationship problems! If you do, they will probably become worse.
Relationship problems ignored are not unlike an untreated infection. Only a fool with an infection would take chances with their health and not get appropriate medical attention.
Without professional medical intervention an infection can get so bad that a limb requires amputation or worse it can lead to death.
The same is true with your valued relationship — your marriage or committed relationship. Ignoring relationship problems is perilous to your well-being and to the well-being of each member in your family!
Face–to–Face Personalized Counseling with a Fully Trained and Competent Therapist
For most troubled couples, face–to–face professional help is an imperative. Few couples can solve their problems entirely on their own.
Those couples who attempt to fix their relationships without outside help run the very real risk of their problems becoming worse.
In fact, most separations and divorces happen because the couple does not get outside professional help as needed.
As a seasoned professional and relationships specialist, I can tell you straight-up that few divorces are really necessary!
Rather, divorces are the result of couples not seeking professional assistance at the right time!
Had the couple gone to a fully trained and caring relationship specialist, their marriage or committed relationship problems could have been resolved — sometimes even in just a few sessions.
When you work directly with a fully qualified relationship specialist, you will get a personalized approach to your problems. Working directly with a professional is preferable to any marriage education or online counseling service.
If you and your partner are experiencing relationship problems, going to a qualified relationship specialist is an excellent idea and should be your ‘plan A.’
Your therapist should have a graduate foundation degree that specializes in human nature, psychological pathology, and relationship functioning. For example, social work, psychology, psychiatry, or counseling are foundation degrees that can support more specialized training.
However, having a degree in social work, psychology, or psychiatry alone is not adequate training for working with marriages or committed relationships.
Relationships are highly complex and for therapists, working with couples is very different from working with individuals in a therapeutic setting.
Specialized training in relationship dynamics is needed for a social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, or counselor to be an effective marriage or committed relationship specialist.
As well, the therapist you choose should be a member of at least one professional organization that specializes in relationship therapy such as the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy or the Canadian Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. Being a member of an organization guarantees that your therapist is held to high standards of professional practice and ethical behavior.
When the best qualified relationship specialist is not available in your location, you should consider using video conferencing. Many relationship therapists are using the internet to provide very effective therapy. In my marriage therapy practice, using Skype or the telephone has helped countless couples located in every corner of the world to resolve their problems.
Yes, finding therapy with a qualified professional is your best option. However, the problem is that often insurance does not cover relationship therapy. And for many couples, paying out-of-pocket is beyond their means.
When face-to-face professional relationship therapy with a fully trained specialist is not possible, what then are your next best options for inexpensive or free marriage counseling?
Marriage and Relationship Clinics Offering Free Therapy
Some marriage clinics or individual relationship therapists offer a free session. However, this is misleading since a single session is always inadequate.
Typically, a first session is used by the couple to describe their current situation and its history. For a couple to continue with treatment they would then have to pay for additional appointments which many couples cannot afford.
In fact, a single session may even be harmful!
For individuals to bare their soul to the therapist, only to be told that treatment for their situation requires a hefty fee which they cannot afford, can leave the couple worse off than they were before their single ‘free’ appointment.
Just talking about ‘the problem’ without intervention typically makes it worse. Hearing your partner complain about you without follow-up support and treatment can be devastating.
Talking about ‘the problem’ and then stopping because the next session requires a fee makes a ‘free single session of marriage therapy’ potentially harmful. If you aren’t prepared prepared to pay for additional appointments you should skip the free session.
Some online marriage therapy services are offered for a small monthly subscription fee. With these services, you never actually meet your therapist in real-time.
Rather, you correspond with your therapist using text messages, emails, etc.
Such a service is inferior to genuine office or online face-to-face therapy.
Generating messages through writing is very limited. Most people cannot fully and accurately express themselves with the written word. Doing so can easily lead to misunderstandings which can spell relationship disaster.
Relationships and feelings are extremely complicated and relying on a therapist to understand your feelings and your complicated relationship and its history cannot be achieved using only written words.
As well, some of these services employ coaches who do not have adequate training to effectively guide troubled couples.
Community Counseling Services
Community services that provide relationship therapy at a reduced fee may exist in your area. These types of services are typically located in hospitals and other community settings.
However, the quality of the available therapists can be problematic and privacy is not always assured.
Typically, the couple is ‘assigned’ to a therapist who may or may not be good, may be overworked, or perhaps is an intern ‘learning how’ to be an effective couple therapist.
It is understandable that every couple therapist begins his or her career as a novice. But it is not your responsibility to help train marriage therapists. It is your responsibility to get the very best relationship help possible. And with an inexperienced therapist, as with any inexperienced doctor, mistakes can be made and your situation made worse.
In spite of the risks of going to an agency that subsidizes your treatment, sometimes the need to talk with someone is so urgent that this is your best option and may be the right thing for you to do. If this is the case, you should proceed; but with caution.
Generally, we get what we pay for. If you can hire a top-notch therapist, rather than saving money at an agency, you should do so. If you are like most people, you make all kinds of purchases with your credit card with the intent to pay for the purchase later. There is nothing more important than your marriage or committed relationship and paying for it with a credit card, when necessary, is smart!
Forums, Discussion Groups
Some couples turn to help of forums, discussion groups, and websites that provide commentary in an attempt to address your relationship problems.
These groups are often run by and populated with lay individuals who have no legitimacy advising people regarding their complex relationships issues. These people often have serious relationship problems that they themselves cannot solve. It is hypocritical that they think they can help solve other people’s problems including yours!
The value of your relationship it is far too important to just let any person who desires to stick their nose into your affairs do so.
Forums and discussion groups may be good for support, but they will likely not help you solve your marriage or committed relationship problems.
In fact, getting unilateral support without any input from your partner may even embolden you to continue making your mistakes since the tendency in groups like this is to agree with and encourage one another.
If your relationship is in trouble, keep the issues private. Share your relationship problems only with other professionals; not lay individuals — regardless of how well intending they are — who thrive on gossip.
Fake Couple Therapists
Good relationship therapy is an exact science.
Not every person who claims they can help your relationship has the necessary knowledge, training, or experience to backup their claims. Rather, they may only be in the relationship business to make a buck or develop a cult following.
Only trust a fully qualified relationship expert, not just anyone who ‘pops-up’ on the screen of your device peddling relationship advice and services!
- Business leaders
- Professional degrees unrelated to relationship therapy
- Professional writers
- Wannabe professionals —’my experience is enough’
- Ministers, Rabbis not qualified as relationship experts
- Dog trainer (Yes, I actually read the sales pitch of a so-called marriage coach claiming his expertise was based on his success training dogs!)
- Doctors, therapists not trained in relationship dynamics
- Coaches (their training and governance is insufficient)
- and similar qualifications…
Such individuals are not qualified to help you with your serious relationship problems. Don’t trust them and don’t be fooled by them! If you do, it is highly likely your situation will worsen.
These ‘self-proclaimed’ relationship gurus may offer your expensive courses that you can download, expensive home visits, or group classes. I caution you regarding using their services since they are not qualified in any skill other than how to make a profit from uninformed consumers desperate for help in an unregulated field.
Sadly, the internet it is highly populated with these impostors. Stay away from them!
Free Marriage Counseling Online
As you know from my above comments, I am a strong proponent of working directly with a qualified couple therapist. However, I know that not everyone can afford their services.
As a properly trained and qualified relationship specialist, I have built this website to offer free marriage counseling online to everyone worldwide. And it truly is Free!
You can rely on this information to improve your life and the lives of your loved ones.
Learn more about the efficacy of Online Relationship Education
There are a few books you can purchase from my website that cost only a few dollars.
In addition for no charge at all, I have made a large library of ‘completely free’ committed relationship and marriage online help to use as you see fit.
Thousands of people have already used and benefited from my free online services.
Thus, a DIY option as found on my website may be your best choice, or as a supplement to other resources, when you cannot afford or find an appropriate therapist to personally help you with your relationship problems.
You are invited to take for yourself from my website as much free self-help marriage and committed relationship education and information you need, and as often as you like. I suggest you bookmark my site so you can get back to it easily: www.GoSmartLife.com.
Take advantage of my free couples counseling on how to fix a broken marriage or committed relationship! Doing so will be good for you and everyone in your family.
If you have more couple and marriage counseling questions, I encourage you to continue your research. Finding the right relationship resources is like finding the right doctor for a serious ailment.
Likely nothing in your life will impact you more than the quality of your relationships. When you need help… finding the right tools is essential!
Abe Kass, MA, RSW, RMFT, CCHT., is a Registered Social Worker, Registered Couple and Family Therapist, Certified Hypnotherapist, and award-winning Educator. He has a busy clinical practice in Toronto, Canada and throughout the world using the phone or Zoom.
After many years of clinical practice and research, Abe concluded that practical solutions requiring a focused effort of no more than a few minutes a day for very specific relationship problems were critically needed. GoSmartLife Publishing House has been created to fill this need.