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How To Get The Most Out Of Marriage Counseling

Aug 17, 2007
Life is not a bed of roses and, sometimes, neither is marriage. After the flowers and chocolates of the courtship days, the "I love you's" of the engagement and the "I do's and till death do us part' in marriage, the reality of a relationship begins. The light of the romance and passion have started to flicker and the illusions of living happily ever after fade away. I only heard about this illusion coming into real life in fairy tales and authors have already earned on that.

Reality is back and it is the start of a much more complicated and many see it as a boring married life. This is where small, slightly bigger and extreme conflicts began due to differences in personality of both people once in love. Not saying that they are not. After all, they have to be congratulated even more once they felt that the after effect of romance started to fade, this is where love can be seen and measured because love is more than just a feeling but rather it is a decision. It is easy to say you love someone once the feeling is high. But if the feeling is no longer there, you decide to love.

There is lot of help being offered right now by agencies on how to save marriages especially if conflicts are new and can easily be repaired. Marriage and Family Counseling for example is gaining popularity among married couples seeking help for resolutions in their problems such as:

- infidelity
- loss of family member
- communication problems
- balancing the demands of home and work
- childhood traumas
- family violence
- substance abuse
- step-parenting problems
- school problems
- conflicts in remarriage families

The most common misconception is that counseling is only for families that encounter difficulties but counseling can also be a way to enhance relationships within the families. You can go to counselor and ask him to give you some suggestion on how to learn effective communication skills, assertiveness, conflict resolution and time management.

You can find Marriage and Family Counseling services being offered in different settings like community mental health agencies, hospitals, managed care organizations, houses of worship, employee assistance programs and independent practice. They offer a wide array of services such as:

- crisis management
- prevention programs and parent education programs
- assessment and diagnosis
- individual couples and family counseling
- multi-couple or multi-family counselor

If you are inclined to get the services of a marriage and family counselor, be sure that you get the most value for your time and money. Every couple spends at least $95-$200 a session per week. This a whole lot of money combined if you intend to get an intensive marriage counseling that may last 3-6 months depending on how grave your situation is.

The best thing to do is know if your partner is willing to do this with you not because you force it out of him but because both of you want to make your marriage work. Never go to a counselor if one of you has already decided to call it quit.

Review the following steps below to guide you on your steps to planning your counseling right:

1. If you are on the lookout for a counselor, be sure to know where to find him. Ask for credible sources like your physician or married friends who are into counseling themselves. Get a referral.

2. Before meeting with your counselor, make a short phone call to his office and ask a few relevant questions for you. It is not always that you can talk to the counselor right ahead. But you also have to respect his policy. If his policies do not appeal to you, you can always scout for another.

3. If you are able to come up with a short list of names counselors from your referrals, take the consultation to a new level. It is time to pay each one a visit and ask them some relevant questions like background, experience and expertise. You will also be able to know if you feel comfortable with him and revealing personal information about your married life.

4. This initial consultation appointment will set the ground for the counselor and you and your husband as a couple. Ask your questions and try to feel the therapist's style, orientation and personality.

5. Be an observer during the first meeting. Be intuned with your opinions and gut feel. Remember, this is a person whom you are supposed to trust. Establish that trust or look elsewhere for another counselor.

6. Always remember to ask your potential counselor with the question, "have you ever been into extensive personal therapy" instead. You would not like someone who preach and preach but cannot apply them into actions.

7. Always go with your husband to the scheduled appointment with your counselor to have an even playing ground.

8. Focus on learning about yourself during the counseling so that you can apply some changes to your behavior that sometimes you are no longer aware of.

9. If there are assignments given to you by the counselor, be committed by taking time and effort to do it and apply them to your behavior. Work this thing out.

10. Always jot down notes in your notebook about questions, issues you would like to discuss with your counselor. This will help you to get organized and focused on issues you wanted to resolve with your partner.

Follow these ten suggestions and never go wrong in your counseling. Try to keep your marriage strong amidst the swarm of divorce cases. Find solutions to issues that are just beginning and you will see how your marriage works miracles.
About the Author
Lee Dobbins writes for http://marriage.biz-review.com where you can learn more about making your marriage work .
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