Relationship counseling is another name for marriage counseling, but it is not exclusively for married couples. Many clients have lived together for a long time and are considered common-law partners.
Moreover, some elements of counseling might involve the children, while others give time to each spouse individually. Every relationship in a couples’ life will benefit from their visit to therapists.
The Goal of Relationship Counseling
Overall, the goal of relationship counseling is to strengthen a couple or keep them together when they are in danger of breaking up.
There are two conditions, however: one is that the relationship is not dangerous; the other is that both parties want to stay together.
If abuse has reached a point where a child’s well-being is in danger, social workers will step in to remove kids from the danger.
Relationship Counseling Approaches
Issues that tear relationships apart are often quite big; parenting, religion, addiction, infidelity, mental health problems, and more.
These can seem too large to surmount, and there is a lot of judgment being doled out from both sides. Each party feels he or she is right, but they have reached an impasse. Either they have to find a way around it or their relationship is going to end.
Often it is simply helpful to gain the perspective of an impartial party. She can see more clearly the stubbornness or unnecessary drama wrapped up in an issue that could so easily be solved by stepping back.
Some problems must be dealt with prior to counseling, such as a trip to rehab for a drug, eating, or gambling problem. Certain issues can be addressed in counseling right away such as how to parent effectively and as a team.
Clients usually picture themselves on a couch seated opposite a therapist discussing problems, but this is not always the case.
At marriage retreats and boot camps, couples engage in physical activities that resemble summer camp programs or team building events.
Spouses form a team, must learn to depend on one another without being too needy, solve problems, and identify challenges. They learn to respect one another’s strengths and support each other through weak areas.
At least, this is the ideal outcome. Sometimes it helps to join group therapy either in gender specific groups or with other couples.
By looking at other people’s lives, one often feels he or she is looking into a mirror, finally recognizing personal challenges that are standing in the way of a healthy marriage.
Marriage retreats, where relationship counselors provide onsite therapy, often yield success for couples facing challenges. It is best to enroll before you are thinking of separation or divorce.
Gaining distance from regular life provides a pair time to focus on the thing that matters most: the health of their relationship.
Relationship counseling is not the solution to an unhappy partnership or a dysfunctional family. It is the start of a journey, often a reference point that couples may return to as way of getting their bearings every so often until they can continue independently.
To be successful, couples must learn to function together, without professional help in the long run.