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Woman Being Free

Marriage Counseling and Couple Therapy

Getting Started - Scheduling an Initial Consultation Session
To get started, contact our office to schedule an initial consultation appointment.  if you are seeking to address issues in your marriage or relationship, both partners should plan to attend the initial 90-minute consultation session, if possible. 


Marriage Counseling is a process in which the therapist works with a couple to address concerns and implement specific change interventions for improving their relationship.  Marriage counseling is appropriate for couples when both partners express a desire to remain in the marriage, as well as for couples in which one, or both partners are uncertain about their commitment to remain in the relationship - only partially invested or skeptical as to whether needed change is possible. Marriage counseling in not appropriate when a clear decision has been made by either spouse to end the marriage. 

It is a common misconception that the goal of marriage counseling is to "save the marriage at all costs."  An ethical therapist respects the right and responsibility of each person regarding major life decisions. It is the job of the marriage counselor to help clarify issues, bring out the personal agendas and the goals of each spouse, recognize dysfunctional behaviors and communication patterns, and help the couple make an informed decision regarding the best course of action to bring about needed changes. For couples who may wish to stay together and work on improving the quality of their relationship, marriage counseling can be transformative, leading to a more fulfilling and satisfying relationship.

The Format of Therapy.   The initial consultation helps a couple or individual gain greater clarity and a context for better understanding the challenges and opportunities they face in their relationship. It is recommended that both partners attend the initial consultation session so that all perspectives can be discussed.  At the end of the session, the therapist will review options and make recommendations - typically providing specific suggestions for bringing about immediate change. The format for marriage counseling and relationship therapy involves an initial consultation session of 90 minutes.  While the marriage counseling and couples therapy typically involves the participation of both partners, depending upon the issues that emerge during the initial consultation session, it may be recommended that each partner schedule a separate individual session (one hour), followed by a joint couples session.  The individual sessions allow each partner to discuss issues they may be reluctant to disclose in a couple's session.  For some couples, the four sessions may be sufficient to address the issue of concern.  However, for most couples the initial consultation provides a starting point for more extended work taking place over a period of several months.

Discernment Counseling. For a husband or wife who is unwilling to participate in marriage counseling - but not yet ready to end the marriage - Discernment Counseling is recommended.  Discernment Counseling is a short-term process of individual counseling (one to five sessions) which helps the "undecided spouse" gain greater insight into their marital situation and options. Discernment counseling provides an initial step which may lead to a commitment to work with their partner to address problem issues and find solutions to build a better marriage or relationship.

Marriage Intensive Therapy - For couples who wish to confront issues and transform their marriage in the most focused and rapid manner possible, Marriage Intensive Therapy provides an appropriate treatment option.  This MIT format ia one-day intensive therapeutic focus (5-6 hours) that includes an initial assessment, individual interviews with both partners, and an extended therapeutic session. The MIT is typically all-day on either a Friday or Saturday. This therapeutic intervention format brings critical issues into focus, presents specific recommendations for change, and reinforces the couple's commitment to the relationship. This intensive approach often results in immediate and sustained changes in a couple's interactions.  Please contact Dr. Canfield to discuss your particular circumstances and if the Marriage Intensive Therapy format may be appropriate to your needs and circumstances.

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