Should you seek out marriage help from a professional? Does going to marriage counseling work? Let's address the reservations you may have about going to marriage counseling.
More inspiration about if if marriage counseling will work for you:
- What is the marriage counseling success rate of some of the best marriage counselors?
- Marriage counseling making it worse
- The man that started it all. Harville Hendrix and the gift of Imago therapy.
How long will marriage counseling take?
Why should I waste my time with years of therapy if the therapy isn't going to work to save my marriage regardless!
This is one of the most common questions I receive from prospective couples. The fear of years of therapy, not to mention the cost, is a strong deterrent for couples to get the assistance they so desperately need. If you knew that marriage counseling was definitely going to work for you, would you dedicate some time to getting the marriage help your relationship really needed?
Of course you would. I also did not believe therapy was very helpful until I learned of Imago therapy. Why? I've witnessed a lot of marital therapy that didn't work and actually had made things worse. There are also many therapists out there that practice marriage counseling but have no specialized training in marital therapy other than a general degree in something like social work or clinical psychology.
All of that changed when my wife and I started learning about Imago. Imago was my first experience with marriage counseling (I had studied other modalities in school). When I was in school and we had our first child, we experienced some tension and wanted to go see a marriage counselor. We went to an Imago therapist and after the first session, we were blown away.
Although we went in experiencing some conflict, we left the session feeling like we were newlyweds. As we continued our sessions, my wife and I noticed the remarkable connection we once again felt towards each other. It really wasn’t so much about the issues that we were working on but how we worked on them and our desire to be connected.
After seeing how well we responded to the sessions, I decided to finish my degree in counseling psychology and go on to pursue specialized training in marriage counseling. I became an advanced clinician in Imago therapy and I now spend my day helping couples achieve the same success my wife and I experienced.
I am living testimony that Imago works and I share this confidence with my couples.
Is it worth seeking out marriage help from a professional? I could just go to a friend or clergyman can't I?
The answer is that it depends on who you go to. One couple came to me after thirty years of marriage. The wife told me that their last therapist would always side with her over her husband. She had to tell the therapist not to side with her as she knew that she could not possibly always be right! They were open to Imago, tried it, and it transformed their marriage.
Many other couples made the shift from typical marriage counseling to Imago therapy and after they experienced the profound difference that Imago had for them over other forms marriage counseling, they were then able to see and report how bad their experience was over the years! They admitted that the other form of marriage counseling was actually more harmful than helpful. More than one couple admitted to me that they would walk out of the room feeling worse than they came in. Does that ever happen to you?
Couples that practice Imago therapy walk out of the sessions feeling lighter than they did when they walked in. There is no blame or shaming of each other. No yelling or fighting. In fact, towards the end of one session one wife commented that she was concerned that this session she would leave feeling worse about her husband than when she arrived. This was particularly alarming because after a year of weekly sessions with another therapist, this would be the first time she did not leave the session feeling better about her husband than when she walked in.
Even if you're a person that has gone to marriage counseling with another therapist and it didn't work, or you're one half of a couple that has to drag your spouse along unwillingly, the bottom line for all of these couples is to have an open mind and to be able to trust the process. Trust that your marriage can be better. Trust that Imago is effective because you have read testimonials from successful couples. Finally, trust that the process is safe and that if you commit to doing it, it can work.
Of course, trust is not easy. That may be precisely why we seek counseling. Ultimately, there is no convincing. You are taking a risk, a risk that will be well worth it.
Does marriage counseling work and how long does it take?
Although every couple is different, I recommend a 2 day marriage counseling intensive with followup sessions. Just like learning how to ride a bike, learning the skill of the Imago dialogue takes time before it becomes natural.
How much should professional marriage counseling cost?
Yes, it does cost money. The fact that you are paying helps motivate you to commit to the process so that your hard earned money doesn’t go to waste. Think of it as an investment in your relationship. Given the current economy, it is a far safer investment than most stocks out there.
It is also a lot cheaper than divorce. I am in frequent contact with domestic attorneys as they will refer clients who they think should give counseling a try before dissolving their relationship. One attorney told me that once assets are split and lawyer fees are paid, there is not much left. Now instead of one rent or mortgage, imagine you are paying for two. Many people in this economy can barely make ends meet, let alone pay for a second home. It is just too expensive to rush into a divorce, let alone the money you will be spending in individual therapy for yourself and your children, as well as the heartache.
It won’t take ten years. It usually doesn’t even take one year to get your marriage to a good place. It does cost money, but it is an investment that is well worth it.
Be in touch,
Shlomo and Rivka Slatkin