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What are the Different Types of Marriage Counselling?

Oct 13, 2007
Therapeutic couple counselling offers a way for individual couples to tackle particular difficulties they are experiencing, such as communication issues, a need for self discovery, improved sexual relationships, work to counter problems with jealousy or other areas. Counselling therapists will see a couple for as long as the couple wants, normally once a week, for a period of up to a few months.

Some counselling bodies offer rates according to what an individual can afford to pay. You may be able to see the counsellor alone or with your partner, and most clinics offer counselling services to married and unmarried, heterosexual and homosexual partnerships. Couple counselling is most successful when it acts as a catalyst for change, rather than as a long-term solution.

Couple psychotherapy, on the other hand, will involve psychoanalytical psychotherapy, psychoanalysis or Jungian analysis. The main difference between couple counselling and couple psychotherapy is that the latter traces current difficulties back to their origins, and assesses how these roots have influenced the unconscious, to instigate a process that will hopefully bring about a helpful change. Normally, both partners need to attend all sessions of therapy.

Psychoanalysis is based on a Freudian notion of 'unconscious functioning', and refers to the situation where the analyst listens to a patient's thoughts on a situation that seems intractable to them, and then produces a theory as to what could be an unconscious origins of the difficulty. Psychotherapy, or psychodynamics, is based around a dialogue between the patient and their therapist, that ideally leads to a solution for how the individual can reach their full potential, or find better ways to deal with problems.

Jungian analysis follows on from Freudian psychoanalysis by looking at the unconscious (or subconscious), but this time taking a particular interest in aspects of dreams, myths, religion and universal human archetypes, which can offer invaluable insight into peoples' understanding.

Psychoanalysis, psychodynamics and Jungian analysis can be challenging, since they involve bringing to light experiences and feelings that may have been repressed for many years, and so both partners will need to share a similar motivation for why they are undertaking therapy, and understanding of what it will involves. However, they offer hope for people who feel they really need to get to grips with issues that are affecting their lives in many areas.

However, there are other ways of dealing with problems on a more specific basis. Some types of therapeutic counselling are aimed specifically at people who are experiencing divorce. This type of counselling will look at emotional issues that are raised by a divorce proceeding, and examines their possible origins in other areas of the subjects' life. Psychosexual therapy can be a more suitable form of marriage counselling for specific problems of a sexual nature.

How do you start a session of marriage counselling? Many counselling providers offer an initial trial session where you'll be able to discuss your requirements and the type of counselling that is right for you. For couple psychotherapy, you can opt to meet with more than one therapist at a time and compare and continue different approaches to find the therapy that is right for you.
About the Author
Shaun Parker is an expert on marriage counselling including its Freudian, psychoanalytic and Jungian varieties. To find out more see http://www.tavistockcentreforcouplerelationships.org/
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