Marriage Counselling – Your Questions Answered
On average marriage counselling helps around 80% of couples achieve a satisfying and connected relationship (Journal of Marital and Family Therapy). The degree of unhappiness you feel in your marriage doesn't influence the likelihood of success of counselling (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9134478/ ).
Most important to the outcome is the ability of both partners to connect with the marriage counsellor, both partners willingness to come to therapy and an openness to learning about themselves. All of these factors greatly improve your chances of success.
An openness to working on the techniques recommended by the counsellor outside the therapy room will also impact the overall success you experience as an individual and as a couple.
An affair can leave both partners feeling like their entire world has collapsed but it is important to know that it is definitely possible for a relationship to recover. Counsellors are trained to help couples navigate these situations.
The process requires the affair partner to truly understand the impact it has had and to develop patience to continue offering support and repair to the injured party. Understanding why the affair has happened is also essential to moving forward and a counsellor can help you to explore this. Most importantly, your counsellor will be able to help you learn how to rebuild broken trust and in doing so, strengthen your relationship.
It can! According to studies cited by the American Psychological Society, it is shown to be effective for approximately 75% of couples. It helps to improve their communication, increase intimacy, better their support network between one another and reduce conflict (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1093/clipsy.6.1.67).
Your counsellor will provide a safe and neutral space where you can both express your concerns and expectations within the relationship and will facilitate your learning to build on this understanding through teaching you techniques that can be implemented outside the therapy room to promote more positive behaviours and outcomes.
Unfortunately, no. Medicare does not offer a rebate for couples/marriage counselling. Some private health funds do offer rebates and so it is best to check with your fund.
The fee can vary dependent on the counsellor you see, but generally couples/marriage counselling ranges between $180 - $250 per 50-60 minute session. This depends on the location, experience and demand for the practitioner you choose to work with.
This is extremely rare, but the counselling experience is different for everyone and therefore the impact of counselling on relationships will be varied from one couple to the next. To answer simply, there is no way to pinpoint whether therapy is the cause of your relationship worsening, however, we have provided some important considerations to bear in mind when you are attending counselling:
1. There is no quick fix and dependent on the issues you are bringing to counselling it can take time with some sessions being more progressive or ‘successful’ than others.
2. Couples counselling requires an open mind from both parties, remember, you are there to discuss concerns and/or issues within the relationship which can often be sensitive or upsetting.
3. Your counsellor is there to facilitate difficult conversations while remaining neutral and objective, however, in some instances, they may offer new or different perspectives. It is important to remember, they are not trying to be judgemental or point blame, this is simply them offering a new way of thinking about the situation.
4. Not every counsellor will be right for you. It is important you feel comfortable with your therapist and have a general likeability toward them as this may impact your perception of any questions they ask or guidance that they offer.
5. In some cases couples decide to separate after counselling, however, this is not considered a failure if both parties have come to a joint understanding about their decision and if they are able to separate amicably.
You can contact your local church or university as they may have free services available. Alternatively, Relationships Australia offers lower-fee counselling which is scaled depending on your joint level of income.
On average people wait for six years whilst dissatisfied in their relationship before seeking counselling according to relationship and marriage expert Dr. John Gottman.https://www.gottman.com/blog/timing-is-everything-when-it-comes-to-marriage-counseling/
Counselling can support you through any stage of your relationship including separation, providing both people are willing to attend. The only time we suggest that marriage counselling may no longer be an option is when someone has said that they no longer wish to continue the relationship and will not consider therapy.
While this can be frustrating or upsetting for the partner, unfortunately, this is usually an indication that therapy will not be effective as one party has no intention of rekindling the relationship. The other indication that counselling is not suited is if there is significant violence or control from a partner who refuses to seek help.
Absolutely. It is common for people to attend counselling on their own to discuss any concerns or issues within their marriage. This can also be a great alternative for people if their partner has expressed they do not want to attend counselling.
It will vary from couple to couple and depend on the depth of the issues bringing you to counselling but the average number of sessions couples find the most benefit from is usually between 6 - 12 sessions and more for some couples.