Marriage Counselors-What to Expect

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Marriage Counseling is a special type of therapy. It deals with two people, not one. Because two people are involved, the skill of the counselor is very important.

First, the Marriage Counselor must maintain rapport with two people not one. That means the Counselor needs to build trust with two people who are not happy with each other. Neither spouse wants to feel that the Marriage Counselor is closer to the other and taking the other’s side.

Second, the Marriage Counselor must be able to balance the power between the two spouses. In some marriages, one spouse has been more in charge of the decisions of the relationship. That is often the spouse who controls the money – but not always. In Counseling, it is important that the old imbalance of power by rebalanced so both sides end up getting their needs met in the relationship. Sometimes that means that one spouse needs to be encouraged to take more power and the other persuaded to give it up, for the sake of the relationship. Not an easy task!

Third, the Marriage Counselor must be able to analyze what has gone wrong in the relationship. Both parties are usually acting out patterns from their past that are getting in the way. One or more is operating to satisfy Unmet Childhood Needs. For instance, one person may dominate and dump on the other, as he saw his father do to his mother. He does this only when he feels anxious about something happening in another part of his life. It makes him feel powerful. The other person may feel resentful but not protest much because she saw her mother be the doormat to her father and she learned it was safer to do it that way.

Fourth, the Marriage Counselor must convince both parties of his or her analysis and help them to make the necessary changes.

Because of the difficulties involved, too many Marriage Counseling experiences end in failure and the spouses go on to divorce.

The best predictor that Marriage Counseling will work is the desire of both parties to make it work.

Dr. Diane Kramer
Long Island Marriage Counseling Center of Huntington, NY

75 Prospect St.
Suite 103
Huntington, NY 11743