Marriage Counseling – What to Expect


Marriage counseling has a bad rep. The stigma is THICK and negative when it comes to couples therapy, when it really shouldn’t be. Marriage therapy, couples counseling, whatever you want to call it does not need to be shameful and secretive.  Some people think, “if I go to marriage counseling, people are going to think we’re getting a divorce.”  FALSE!  Things do not need to be bad in order for you and your partner to attend couples therapy.  


It is helpful to attend therapy, yes, in hard times; but also, in times of transition.  Just got engaged, expecting a baby, new move, new job, death of a loved one, etc. are factors that can influence a relationship and may be times when having a third neutral party to help you process and facilitate healthy dialogue with your darling could be beneficial.   


Here are some common concerns couples have:


What’s going to happen?


The first session is generally an introduction, a chance to get to know your therapist and they get to know you.  The therapist may want to have some background information such as your culture, religion, upbringing, mental/ physical health issues, substance use, sexual background, and other information that might be relevant.  Some administer surveys at all or some of the sessions to track your progress.  


Your therapist will probably have a modality or therapeutic framework in which they conduct couples therapy.  Common modalities of couples therapy are:



There are other effective modalities of therapy.  Your therapist may use a variety of techniques to try and tailor sessions to you and your partner’s needs.


Will anyone find out I’m going to couples therapy?


Legally, your therapist is bound to confidentiality.  The only time a therapist will breach that confidentiality is if you or someone else is in danger by withholding information.  If you and your partner decide to keep a secret, no one will know.  


How long does this last?


Most sessions are 50 minutes long and can be as brief as 8 sessions.  Depending on you, your partner, the issue, your finances, and availability of therapist, sessions can be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, every few months, and can go on for years.  It is up to you and your therapist.  


Will I always attend with my partner?


This depends on the style of the therapist and the couple.  Some situations it is helpful to have individual sessions in combination with couple sessions.  Some therapists, prefer to work with the couple as a set because it’s effective for that couple, to avoid triangulation, or even avoid the appearance of triangulation.  


It may be helpful to have separate therapists, as in a therapist for individual therapy and a therapist for couples therapy.  If you wanted collaboration and therapists are willing, you could sign a release form to allow your therapists to consult with one another.  This is an individual preference and in some situations not feasible.


You probably have many more questions, but it doesn’t hurt to schedule an initial session to test it out.  As each therapist is an individual, it would be best to address your questions to the specific therapist and see if it is a fit for you and your loved one.  If you’re considering marriage counseling, please contact Crownview Medical Group to get in touch with a trained medical professional.


We all have problems.  Every couple fights, that is no secret.  


**If you are in a relationship where there is abuse please do not hesitate to call the domestic violence hotline.  1-800-799-SAFE (7233)