Couples Therapy in Michigan

Marriage Therapy by Dr. Marcie Zoref

Marital therapy or couples counseling treats psychological problems in the context of a relationship.  Although the treatment of individual therapy has been around much longer, the advantages of treating psychological issues in the framework of a couple is well known today and has been around since the 1950’s.  Couples therapy can be short term or long term, is typically on an outpatient basis, and sessions are usually weekly.  Marital counseling usually involves both partners, although sometimes only one partner is willing to attend therapy or may not be comfortable talking in front of the other partner.  Some therapists may also meet with partners separately before seeing them together as a couple.

There are many issues that can bring a couple into counseling.  These include but are not limited to, infidelity, sexual issues, problems with communication, marital conflict, emotional distress, substance abuse, financial or occupational problems, problems with children, family issues, medical problems, and stress.  Whatever the issue is, addressing the conflict earlier can help decrease symptomatology, promote well-being, and increase psychological mindedness.

Couples therapy can have many significant benefits, including resolving conflicts, enhancing communication, changing dysfunctional behavior, increasing intimacy and emotional connection, decreasing symptoms, and alleviating stress.  Couples therapy can also have a positive affect on parenting, child rearing and overall family dynamics, as the negative impact of marital conflict on children’s emotional functioning is well documented.  Marital therapy provides couples the opportunity to rebuild their relationship and increase comprehension of their marital dynamics.  Unfortunately, sometimes couples decide to separate or even divorce during marital counseling.  However, when couples do decide to end their relationship, often this process can be somewhat alleviated with the use of psychological services and a mental health professional like a psychologist.  

As stated above, the benefits of couples counseling can be grand.  Some core elements of marital counseling include empathy, accountability and mutual respect, and the counseling works to promote the well-being of the couple and alleviate psychological distress.  If you think you may benefit from couples therapy you can consult with a psychologist or marriage and family counselor about your appropriateness for services.  As always, addressing any mental health issues earlier is both beneficial and preventive and can help reduce severity of symptoms and symptom duration, and improve overall quality of life.