When you’re looking for marriage counseling, it can be difficult to know what type of counseling to choose.
There are many different counseling types, including short-term and long-term therapies, marriage retreats, and others that may work better depending on your current situation and the type of relationship problems you’re dealing with.
The below guide outlines 10 distinctive types of marriage counseling that each work in unique ways to help you resolve conflict and strengthen your relationship with your spouse and children.
In individual counseling, both parties attend sessions separately. Many people find that attending counseling individually first is a helpful way to test whether or not it’s worth investing time and money into fixing your marriage.
This can also be helpful if one partner has more of an issue to work on than another; in these cases, separating sessions may help each person better explore what they need to work on individually.
Separating also gives you a chance to hear constructive feedback from someone who isn’t emotionally attached to you and your relationship.
After attending some solo sessions, couples who are considering marriage counseling should decide if they want to continue with joint sessions or go back to tackling their issues independently first.
Couples counseling is when you and your partner attend therapy sessions together. Like individual counseling, couples counseling offers a chance to discuss your relationship and resolve issues with a neutral third party.
And like individual counseling, it can also help you learn how to communicate with each other effectively, build better communication skills and understand each other better.
Couples therapy tends to be more effective than individual therapy if only one person has an issue they need to work on; since both partners are there working through things together, it’s easier for both of you to work on changes in your behavior that will positively impact your relationship.
Just as there are different types of individual therapy, there are different types of couple’s therapy—choose one that makes sense for your needs.
This form of counseling involves meeting with a group of other couples to provide mutual support and advice.
The shared experience of working through marital problems together can help couples feel less alone, validated, and able to cope with their problems more effectively.
Group sessions can be more cost-effective than private counseling because groups are typically run by counselors or therapists who are not charge as much for their time.
However, if you prefer a more personal approach, group counseling may not be for you. It’s also worth noting that although being around other couples going through similar issues may sound beneficial, it can harm some relationships.
Another option is to seek individual counseling. Individual counseling sessions with a therapist are often much more personal than group sessions, as each couple works together one-on-one.
This provides for an intimate environment in which you can discuss your relationship and any problems you’re having without feeling self-conscious or under pressure to share your feelings with a group of other couples.
It’s important to note that individual counseling isn’t right for everyone, though, because it requires you to go alone and trust another person enough to open up about personal issues.
You may be wondering whether couples counseling is right for you and your spouse, or maybe you’re not sure if it will help.
If you are in a marriage that is suffering from distress due to infidelity, emotional abuse, drug addiction, chronic mental illness, or extreme personality issues (i.e., narcissism), couples counseling isn’t likely to provide many benefits.
But before assuming that all couples therapy won’t work for you and your spouse, consider seeking help from a therapist who specializes in some of these distinctive marriage counseling types.
Problematic relationship issues like those listed above can be handled more effectively with a couple’scounselor who specializes in a certain type of therapy.
Family therapists are experts at bringing couples, families, and even extended families back together. Family therapists know how to guide you through situations with your parents, children, siblings, and extended family members in a way that brings about lasting change.
Most people don’t always have access to their entire family; sometimes immediate family members or even estranged family members make it difficult to talk things through or resolve issues in any way.
A marriage therapist or counselor can help couples through tough times, but certain situations may require a specific type of specialist.
For example, if one partner suffers from alcoholism or drug addiction, it’s helpful to find a counselor who specializes in treating addiction.
While couples therapists and relationship specialists typically deal with substance abuse on some level, they don’t necessarily specialize in treating these addictions as their primary area of expertise.
When treating addiction is at stake, it pays to seek out an expert with specialized training and experience.
There are a variety of child therapy techniques. Most focus on helping children overcome trauma, but others have a more general focus, such as helping children understand their emotions and develop better self-control.
Child therapists can be psychologists or social workers who specialize in working with children. They’re trained to recognize when something is wrong and how to encourage troubled kids to open up about what’s going on in their lives.
If you’re worried that your child may be having difficulties at school or home, don’t wait—these issues can grow into larger problems if they aren’t addressed early.
It may be tempting to find someone outside of your pediatrician’s office, but don’t turn away from professional help—find out how a child therapist can make all the difference in your child’s life!
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
An EAP is a confidential service offered by an employer to its employees. Most often, EAPs are used to refer workers to employee assistance counselors or other professionals who can provide them with counseling services, as well as practical guidance on how they might address their challenges at work and outside of work.
It’s worth noting that most EAPs won’t cover individual therapy sessions but instead offer group programs that deal with a variety of issues affecting workers.
These groups might focus on substance abuse, mental health concerns (such as anxiety or depression), and domestic violence – among many others.
Parent Education Program (PEP)
This program is aimed at parents, whether or not they’re in crisis. It involves one-on-one counseling as well as group sessions that are conducted by a trained parent educator who teaches couples communication and problem-solving skills.
The emphasis of PEP is to teach parents how to resolve problems before conflict becomes overwhelming and divorce seems like a viable option.
This type of therapy is more intensive than traditional counseling and focuses on changing specific behaviors (e.g., financial management) rather than exploring feelings in depth.
Trauma Recovery Programs (TRP)
A trauma recovery program (TRP) is a form of therapy that focuses on helping you understand your past trauma and recover from it.
It is usually one aspect of a larger treatment program to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In many cases, PTSD is treated with a form of talk therapy along with medication or another complementary modality.