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Marriage counseling is a tool that many couples use to help resolve relationship problems, improve communication, and feel like a team again. Through marriage counseling, couples can go fro feeling like tense roommates to being on the same page again. A common question that gets asks though is, "how long should marriage counseling last?". The annoying answer is, it depends. This article will provide some information on factors influencing how long marriage counseling lasts so you can understand what to expect.
Understanding the benefits of marriage counseling
Marriage counseling is a type of psychotherapy that is focused on helping couple relationships using many of the same psychological principles using for individual mental health counseling. In marriage counseling, couples work on improving their communication, working through issues, and creating a better understanding of each others perspectives--all within a safe a supportive environment of counseling. The main goals of marriage counseling are often to resolve conflict, and improve the emotional bond to promote a healthy relationship foundation. A trained and skilled marriage counselor uses a variety of techniques to help guide couples through conversations and compromises that would be difficult to navigate at home. (Learn more about the benefits of marriage counseling here.)
Factors influencing how long marriage counseling lasts
There are many factors that influence how long marriage counseling should last. A general rule of thumb is that the more problems that exists, and the longer you wait to get professional help, the longer marriage counseling takes.
What to expect from short-term marriage counseling
Short term counseling is usually 6-12 sessions and is best for couples dealing with minor issues. Often this is a great choice for premarital counseling, and couple wishing to take a preventative approach to problems. In short term marriage counseling, you learn some specific tips for communication, problem-solving, and conflict resolution.
What to expect from medium-length marriage counseling
Medium length marriage counseling is usually 12-24 sessions and is appropriate for couples facing moderate relationship problems. This may also involve some communication, problem solving and conflict resolution skills. However, it will also like address possible underlying issues and work to build more emotional intimacy, trust, in the relationship.
What to expect from long-term marriage counseling
Long-term marriage counseling typically lasts 24 sessions or more. Most coupes will be in this category, because research indicates that coupes wait 6 years on average to go to marriage counseling after problems have started. By that point, problems have gotten entrenched. When there are more long term issues, deeply rooted problems, and complex issues, long-term counseling is recommended. It involves extensive work on individual and joint healing, personal growth, and transforming the relationship. This duration allows for in-depth exploration, addressing deeply ingrained patterns, and facilitating lasting change.
When to stop marriage counseling
Throughout the process of marriage counseling, your therapist will provide ongoing evaluation and feedback and will collaborate with you to see if the goals and expectations of counseling have been met. As signs of progress become apparent, you will move toward stopping marriage counseling. Signs that it is time to stop marriage counseling include:
Marriage counseling can be a great tool to help strengthen and repair a relationship. While the duration of counseling varies based on individual circumstances, the longer you wait for counseling, the more likely the problems will have grown into complex issues that take longer to resolve. By understanding these factors that impact how long marriage counseling takes, you can be more informed about when to start the marriage counseling process and what to expect about the length of time it will take. To have the best outcomes, make sure both of you are ready to actively participate in the marriage counseling process so you move towards achieving your relationship goals.
Looking to start Marriage Counseling?
Elizabeth Polinsky Counseling provides online Marriage Counseling, as well as weekend-long Marriage Intensives, throughout the states of Virginia, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Nevada. Click the button below to schedule a complimentary consult.
About the Author
My podcast, blogs, videos, newsletters, and products are general information for educational purposes only; they are not psychotherapy and not a replacement for therapy. The information provided is not intended to be therapy or psychological advice; and nothing I post should be considered professional advice. The information provided does not constitute the formation of a therapist-patient relationship.
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