Couples and Marriage Counselling

by Harley Therapy
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

Couples counselling, or marriage counselling, helps you to understand and resolve conflicts with your partner and improve your relationship.

A counsellor or psychotherapist can help you to discuss and understand you understand any presenting issues are experiencing in your marriage. Couples therapy is designed to provide a safe and confidential space to explore and move beyond challenges to a healthier relationship.

What happens in couples therapy?

Couples therapy is designed to provide a safe and confidential space to explore challenges and to move beyond these to a healthier state of the relationship. A couples therapist will ask questions to get to know you better and try to see that you both have a chance to talk.

What will a couples therapist ask you?

Initial couple therapy sessions are usually an evaluation period while your therapist builds a greater understanding of your difficulties. They will work to understand what has brought you to counselling, how therapy can best help your relationship, and what your expectations are.

Your therapist will usually ask about your history as a couple, how long any problems have existed and what you might hope to learn from couples therapy.

Often people find talking therapeutic in its own right but after the first few sessions, a couples therapist will be able to provide more guided steering and begin to actively help you to work towards managing your issues.

Couples or marriage therapy helps with many issues, such as:

  • Improving open communication
  • Recognising behavioural patterns
  • Understanding your feelings and actions
  • Seeing each others' perspectives
  • Managing expectations within the relationship
  • Finding useful ways of compromise that work for both parties
  • Finding new ways to move forward

How do you know if you need marriage counselling?

You might be finding it difficult to understand your partner lately, struggling to agree on anything together or an affair has put your future together in jeopardy. Money, sex, housework, parenting and family issues are also some of the typical concerns that bring couples to therapy. Some signs that someone is experiencing a relationship difficulty include feeling pressurised, feelings of being very stuck, a restricted social life, anxiety and depression.

On some occasions, couples are looking to enhance their communication and deepen their understanding of each other in general.

A list of reasons to go to couples counselling might include:

  • Infidelity
  • Communication problems
  • Feeling stuck
  • Bereavement
  • Parenting
  • Divorce
  • Life changes, such as retirement
  • Losing a job
  • Housework
  • Substance abuse
  • Physical or mental conditions
  • Same-sex relationship issues
  • Cultural clashes
  • Finances
  • Unemployment
  • Wider family issues
  • Communication problems
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Conflicts about child-rearing
  • Infertility
  • Anger

Harley Therapy's Guarantee

If you don't feel satisfied with your first Therapy session for any reason, we'll offer you a session with an alternative therapist at our expense.

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Can marriage counselling really save a relationship?

Timing is everything. Unfortunately, lots of couples wait too long to get help to repair their relationship. Marriage and couples counselling is hard work and there are no guarantees. But marriage and long term relationships are deep personal investments that can bring a huge amount of positives to your life when they are working healthily for both partners. For this reason, many couples invest the time needed to work through their problems in therapy together.

The effectiveness of marriage counselling is also related to the motivation level of both partners and timing. For some couples, marriage counselling may become more about divorce management, because they have already given up on trying to make the relationship work. Sometimes, the problems in a marriage can be too embedded for the counselling to be effective or couples don’t honestly share their concerns, hampering the results of the therapy.

Some of the ways that couples therapy can work include identifying toxic relationship patterns and helping couples to work on changing these, bringing a new perspective to issues and helping couples to understand each other’s perspectives, finding new ways to resolve conflicts, building trust and improving communication, and providing a safe space for both partners to work through their issues with the support of the empathetic ear of a professional therapist.

Start Marriage CounsellingHow long does marriage counselling last?

How Many Sessions Do We Need?

Marriage counselling can be short term. It depends on how long the issues have been going on and what problems you feel you need to overcome. If you are going through a specific crisis, you may only need a few sessions to help you manage the situation. However, you may need marriage counselling for several weeks or months.

Every counselling relationship is unique because it depends on the individual or couple taking part and the issues that need to be worked through. When meeting your couples therapist, it would be helpful to discuss how they think they could help you, their style of working and what you could expect to cover in the course of your therapy.

How can marriage counselling help?

Some of the benefits of couples counselling include:

  • Coping with changes
  • Improving communication
  • Managing conflict in a healthier way
  • Improving physical and sexual connection
  • Recognising abusive relationships.

The ultimate goal is to work towards a more successful relationship.

How to find a good marriage therapist or couples counsellor

In the UK, although it is not illegal for anyone to call themselves a marriage counsellor or therapist, licensed psychotherapists and counsellors will have studied at the postgraduate level for a number of years and untaken hundreds of hours of practical, supervised work in order to qualify as therapists.

An experienced therapist or counsellor like those listed on the Harley Therapy platform can help you to work on your relationship and find a way forward.

Filter our qualified, professional and vetted couples therapists by cost, location, availability and approach so you can find and book the best therapist or counsellor for you here. Or find a therapist to help with couples therapy below.

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