How Do I Know If I Need Couples or Marriage Counseling?

By | January 29, 2010

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Often individuals feel they may be candidates for counseling but are not sure and don’t want to make things worse. I have had many clients that reported being worried prior to coming in for counseling that they might make things worse if they stirred things up and spoke out about their marriage and the issues within it. While this concern is understandable from a laymen’s perspective, it is based on several assumptions that typically are not solid supports. For example, avoiding and continuing in the same old patterns does not make things better, often they get worse as conflict and hurt feelings linger over time. Generally the intention in couples counseling is to move beyond the mere ‘content’ of the issues and instead take a deeper look at the ‘process’ of how it is happening and why it is happening. As the patterns become illuminated and needs/wants are explored mutual understanding is fostered and mending begins to occur. Learning how to attend to your partners needs and learning to listen in new ways independent of how long you have been married can help restore harmony and stop deep seeded patterns that have been living within the marriage and preventing closeness and love. Where blended families, addiction, and other complicating factors exist more working-through is required to iron out the core issues and guide you through them.You might be a good candidate for couples or marriage counseling if … (this list is not complete but has a few of the larger issues listed)

  • Often when you attempt to communicate with each other it turns into a fight.
  • To prevent conflict you avoid communicating about difficult topics.
  • Same debates/arguments continue over and over with no resolution.
  • There has been infidelity in real-time, online, or in workplace relationships.
  • One spouse is addicted to online gaming, hobbies, pornography, etc and it is tearing the marriage apart
  • You feel you cannot open up and share with your spouse. You’re not emotionally safe.
  • Intimacy and passion are not what they used to be.
  • Often you fell disconnected and wonder why you are married and if you’d be happier single.
  • You struggle to communicate and understand your spouse.
  • Dealing with past hurts and in need of help working through it.
  • You are considering divorce or separation.

The list above is a small snapshot of common issues that couples bring into my office. Most issues are not listed but I listed above some of the more common ones. If you feel you are in need of counseling you likely are. If you are in doubt, schedule a time to visit with me and I can make an assessment as to what your clinical needs are and how I can be of help to you.

Copyright: No part of this article in section or full may be reproduced without permission from the author Justin Stum, MS LMFT. The one and only exception is for educational purposes and only if the contact information below for the author is fully cited here in article. Justin Stum, MS LMFT, 640 E. 700 S., Suite 103, St. George Utah 84770,  435-574-9193, http://www.justinstum.com


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