Many couples seek marriage counseling in response to infidelity or suspicion of an affair. Other concerns which often prompt a couple to seek therapy include: conflict over finances, disagreement over parenting issues, problems with in-laws or step children, increased emotional distance, a decrease in intimacy and sexual satisfaction, poor communication, and an increase in arguments and conflict.
Deciding to seek professional help is the first step to resolving an individual concern or relationship problem. Sometimes the decision to consult with a therapist is made in order to address long-standing issues and associated symptoms of anxiety or depression. Other times, it is in response to a major crisis, an unexpected changes in one's life circumstances, or growing dissatisfaction with one's relationship. Couples also seek our help to overcome sexual problems, cope with chronic health issues, adjustment to retirement, and career changes. We can help you gain greater clarity about a situation and offer new strategies for improving the quality of your relationship.
Do we really need marriage counseling or couples therapy? I can usually handle problems on my own.
Every marriage and relationship goes through challenging times, and most of life's "day-to-day" problems can often be managed through one's own efforts. However, when a person or couple encounter a problem of notable magnitude, or when a problem lingers or periodically reoccurs, it is appropriate to seek professional help early, rather than later. Counseling can provide long-lasting benefits and support, giving you new skills to avoid "triggers" and reactive behaviors, re-direct damaging relationship patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you and your partner face.
I have my own individual issues (as does my spouse), shouldn't we first seek individual therapy to address our own personal issues before we work on our relationship?
Each of us bring our own issues into a relationship. It is not possible to isolate and separate "individual" issues from "relationship" issues in any meaningful way. While individual counseling sessions may be appropriate in some situations - if "individual" issues contribute to relationship problems (directly or indirectly), clinical outsome research clearly indicates that involvement of one's partner is essential to a successful outcome.
Research shows that when improving a relationship is a primary goal, a person who engages in individual therapy without the participation of their partner often feels better about themselves, but less positive about their relationship or marriage. As such, participation of one's partner is essential to avoid an unintended increase in relationship dissatisfaction. The unique needs of your relationship will be addressed with you and your spouse during the initial consultation session and the most appropriate course of action will be discussed. This may include couples therapy exclusively - or a combination of individual and couples sessions.
I am not sure I want to remain in my marriage - is counseling appropriate?
It is common to consider separation or divorce in response to an affair or chronic dissatisfaction with a troubled relationship. We recognize that divorce is often not the best solution to problems, but rather a substitution of problems. We encourage couples who are struggling in their relationship to consider marriage counseling to help them gain greater clarity about their situation. With professional help, couples in crisis are often able to make a new commitment and build a more satisfying marriage. For many couples, marriage counseling results in an increased level of intimacy and an emotionally healthier partnership.
The role of the therapist is to clarify issues so that a couple is better able to make well-informed decisions about the future of their relationship. While any question about martial status - a decision to end the marriage, or remain in the marriage and work toward finding solutions to problems - belong to each spouse, for couples who wish to remain married and improve the quality of their relationship, the counselng process can lead to a greater level of satisfaction. For individuals who decide to end the marriage, divorce adjustment counseling or family therapy can address transition issues and help reduce conflict and the negative impact of separation and divorce on children.
What about the cost?
All of our therapists are experienced and fully licensed for independent practice in the State of Florida. The hourly fee for our services range from $150 to $240, based on the education and experience level of the therapist. Counseling involves an investment in time, money, and effort. As such, you should only seek our help only if you are willing to work to find solutions and bring about a meaningful change in your life.
In estimating the cost of therapy, it is important to consider not only the hourly fee of therapist, but the anticipated length of the therapy process. Each person and each couple are unique. Some of our clients only require a single consultation session, or one day of marriage intensive therapy session. Other couples may require on-going weekly or bi-weekly or monthly sessions to realize desired changes. We will discuss your expectations and goals and recommend the treatment option that is best suited to your particular circumstances.
What is therapy like?
Every therapeutic relationship is unique and tailored to the needs and goals of each individual, couple, or family. Counseling provides a safe, professional, non-judgmental, and supportive setting in which the therapist and couple client work together as a team - discussing issues of concern, identifying reoccuring behavior patterns, considering options, and developing and implementing a strategy and course of action for improvement. We believe that counseling should be a relatively short-term process. Depending upon the nature of concerns, the counseling process may involve a single session, an intensive all-day intervention, or a series of hourly sessions taking place over several months. Therapy may focus on a specific relationship concern or address more complex underlying issues.
You and your partner will often be asked to engage in assigned activities outside of the therapy session. This may include specific "home work" assignments, practicing new behaviors, and/or keeping records to track changes in target behaviors. it is important to process what has been discussed during the therapy session and integrate suggested changes into your lifestyle and relationship. For the counseling process to be most effective, you and your partner must be active participants. Here are some things you can expect in your work with us:
- Confidentiality - under state law, anything discussed in session is private and protected - to the fullest extent allowed by law.
- Ethical practice - which always focuses on the best interest of the client.
- Compassion, acceptance, and understanding.
- A non-judgmental attitute and respect of your personal values and beliefs.
- An objective perspective to help you gain greater clarity on feelings, thoughts, and actions.
- Specific suggestions and proven techniques and interventions to produce needed changes.
Is medication an alternative to therapy?
Although medication can be helpful to some people who show physical or psychological symptoms, such as depression and anxiety - medication will not change the underlying problem or resolve a relationship conflict. There is simply no pill to produce a happy marriage. However, working in concert with your medical doctor, we can help determine what is best for you. A successful relationship involves a commitment and willingness to honestly examine personal choices and preferences, shared life goals, and priorities. Rather than merely treating or masking symptoms, therapy will address the "root causes" of distress which can bring about sustained positive changes in your life and relationship.