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Marriage Counseling

How To Find The Right Marriage Counselor

couple in marriage counseling

There are many different reasons why a couple may be seeking the guidance of a marriage counselor. Every individual is different, and each person contributes uniqueness to the relationship dynamics that make up a marriage. The habits, patterns, and roles in a marriage are often assumed by each party early in the relationship. Individuals are constantly evolving, and as the individuals in a marriage change and develop, so too must their relationship. As is true with maintaining any authentic relationship, marriage will require active work and dedication. The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) reported the findings of a study that indicate, “of couples who try marriage counseling, 90% feel that their emotional health improves, and two-thirds report improvements in their physical health.” Marriage counseling provides a couple with an emotionally safe environment to delve into areas of the relationship that may need attention, make thoughtful decisions surrounding the status of a relationship, and help couples come to realize whether or not both parties authentically wish to work towards rebuilding and/ or strengthening the relationship or work towards separating amicably. In order for marriage counseling to be truly effective, both members of the relationship must be open and willing to participate in the therapeutic process. 

Getting Started

There are a multitude of marriage counselors available, each with differing foci and/ or specializing in different therapeutic modalities. Narrowing down the options can seem overwhelming. Below are several suggestions that can help you through the process and ensure you find a marriage counselor that is the best fit for accommodating all of your couple counseling needs. 

  • Get recommendations:
    • If you are comfortable delving into your network of trusted family and friends, ask for references.
    • Check out some online sources: many marriage counselors have websites available for potential clients to review and/ or are included in an online compilation of reputable mental health professionals:
  • Ask your primary care provider (PCP) to refer you to a marriage counselor that they recommend.
  • Understand costs: each marriage counselor will charge a fee for their services. The costs will vary, as different providers charge different rates. Some marriage counselors accept insurance as a form of payment, while others do not. It is important to understand your out-of-pocket financial responsibility prior to selecting a counselor, to ensure their services are not financially prohibitive. 
  • Interview: Call and interview potential marriage counselors: prior to scheduling an appointment make a phone call to ask a potential counselor questions, so as to ensure their practices align with your needs.
  • Give yourself options: Interview at least three marriage counselors before you make your selection.
  • Be Patient: Although you are likely eager to find a marriage counselor, take your time and be patient. Remember that this is a process, and trust that you will eventually find the right one. 

It is important to bear in mind that each marriage counselor is different, and not all marriage counselors will be a perfect match. If you and/ or your spouse finds he or she does not necessarily jive with the therapist selected, try a different one. In order for marriage counseling to work each party must feel comfortable with the professional selected.

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health.  As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

Most Common Marital Problems

married couple having problems

Every relationship has challenges, and most individuals understand that when entering into a marriage they are exposing themselves to a whole slew of potentially difficult to navigate experiences, also known as marital problems. The marital problems that have the propensity to manifest could range from mild to extreme, and anywhere in between. Some of the most widespread martial problems include the following, in no particular order: 

  • Division of labor: research indicates that when both spouses work outside the home, the responsibility of chores and housework usually falls on the woman. An imbalanced division of labor can foster resentment.
  • Infidelity: infidelity includes short and long-term emotional affairs and physical cheating, and can corrode a marital relationship.  
  • Communication issues: communication in a relationship encompasses both verbal and non-verbal cues. Lacking the ability to effectively communicate (e.g. listening without interrupting) or falling into a habit of engaging in improper communication can fester in a marriage. 
  • Finances: arguing about money is highly common and can be particularly frustrating when a couples view on finances is not aligned. 
  • Power inequality: power can be held in many areas (e.g. parenting power, decision-making power, financial power, etc.) and when there is power inequality in a marital relationship one spouse is likely to feel powerless over time. 
  • Children and childrearing differences: every person comes with his or her own worldview and perspective, which directly inform their respective parenting styles. Raising children can be highly stressful and when conflicting parenting styles clash it can affect a married couples relationship. 
  • Boredom: the beginning of relationships are new and exciting, but without putting in effort, as time progresses relationships can stagnate and become void of excitement.  
  • Different love languages: in 1992, Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a well renowned book called The Five Love Languages. In it he defines five different ways people give and receive love (e.g. touch, time, acts of service, words of affirmation, and gift giving). If both individuals in the couple speak different love languages, it may lead to partners feeling underappreciated and/ or unloved in their relationship.
  • Sex: every person has different sexual desires and needs, and many couples struggle with sexual compatibility. 
  • Abuse: there are several forms of abuse (e.g. verbal abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse, etc.) and allowing any kind of abuse in a relationship can be severely damaging to the health of each individual, separately and as a couple. 

If you experience any of the above marital problems, you are in good company. The fact is that no marriage is void of marital problems, as they will develop at some point during the relationship. Marital problems exist and they should not be stigmatized. Enduring and resolving relationship challenges can provide couples with an opportunity to learn from their experiences while simultaneously deepening and strengthening their relationship. 

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health.  As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

Marriage Counseling Options In Los Angeles

a couple receiving marriage counseling

Every person is different and each contributes uniqueness to the relationship dynamics that make up a marriage. Much like the roles of each member that make up a family of origin are often firmly established early on, the habits, patterns, and roles in a marriage are often assumed early in the relationship. Few individuals that enter into a marriage fully understand the gravity of the commitment they are making and the personal and combined effort it will take to maintain the sacred bond of marriage, or exit a marriage amicably. As is true with maintaining any authentic relationship, marriage will require active work and dedication. Individuals are evolving people, and as the individuals in a marriage grow and develop, so too must their relationship. As humans age, all will experience shifting desires and changing needs, and the marriage relationship is no exception. A healthy marriage demands the same amount of attention that is reserved for individual evolution. In order for marriage counseling to be truly effective, both members of the relationship must be open to or at the vary least, willing to participate in the therapeutic process. 

Where To Look

Each marriage counselor is different. Not all marriage counselors will resonate with each couple, and when in a situation where the relationship between couple and counselor is less than optimal, it may be best to seek a new marriage-counseling therapist. Los Angeles, California is home to a plethora of qualified couples counseling therapists. Depending on the needs of the couple Los Angeles has many mental health professionals that specialize in marriage counseling, each with differing levels of education, backgrounds, specialties, and experience. When searching for a marriage counselor in Los Angeles, due to the overwhelming number of options, the process could quickly become tedious and for some even anxiety provoking. In effort to alleviate some of the pressure related to the search, consider the following two suggestions:  

  • Ask your network of trusted family and friends for references: even if the recommended therapist is unable to take you on as a client, he or she will likely be able to refer you to someone in his or her professional network.
  • Check out some online sources: many marriage counselors have websites available for potential clients to review and/ or are included in an online compilation of reputable mental health professionals.
  • Ask your primary care provider (PCP): check with your primary care provider to see if they are able to refer you to a marriage counselor that they recommend.
  • Ask us for help: We have years of experience in marriage counseling. And if we are unable to help, we can refer you to someone who can.

The nuanced needs that present in each individual that make up the marriage, respectively, that affect the relationship as a whole will greatly inform the scope and therapeutic strategies used in couples counseling. It is important to bear in mind that not all couples that enter marriage counseling are necessarily in crisis or experiencing relationship fractures. Some may feel that they would simply like to improve certain areas of their relationship, increase communication efficacy, or preemptively learn useful tools to maintain their healthy marriage. Ultimately, the reason behind why a couple enters marriage counseling is entirely personal. There are a variety of benefits that can develop as a result of marriage counseling. Marriage counseling can help individuals learn coping mechanisms, effective communication strategies, and healthy conflict resolution tactics, all of which can be implemented in the couples relationship to enhance the marriage. 

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health.  As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

The Most Common Causes of Divorce

two broken hearts in divorce case

No two individuals share an identical personality, and the same is true for a relationship: no two relationships are the same. Every individual is different, and each person brings a uniqueness that contributes to the dynamic of a relationship. In the not so distant past, due factors largely remaining unknown, (though many speculate it to be directly related to culturally and/ or socially enforced stigma) divorce was a relatively rare phenomenon in America. Even though the overall divorce rates appear to be declining, still, according to American Psychological Association about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in America end in divorce. 

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) conducted a study to better understand the cause for divorce in America. The study included a sample size of fifty-two people (twenty-one men and thirty-one women) who had been involved in a “prevention and relationship enhancement program” (PREP) that focused on teaching couples conflict resolution skills and effective communication strategies. The PREP course occurred before the couples were married, but the study surveyed the fifty-two individuals fourteen years after they had participated in PREP. The findings indicate the top four causes of divorce to be the following: 

  • 75% was due to a lack of commitment: Although marriage is often thought to be the ultimate commitment, an article published in Couples & Family Psychology reports the highest percentage of those of divorced is due to a lack of commitment. 
  • 59.6% was due to infidelity: the study found infidelity and extramarital affairs to be the second largest contributing factor and turning point, instigating the demise of marriages.
  • 57.7% was due to excessive arguing: couples that lacked communication skills and/ or effective conflict resolution strategies were unable to wholly resolve conflicts and arguments, which were in turn left to fester and erode the relationship. As reported in the survey findings, “communication problems increased in frequency and intensity throughout their marriages, which at times seemed to coincide with lost feelings of positive connections and mutual support.”
  • 36.1% was due to financial problems: though many couples did not explicitly identify financial difficulties as the primary reason for divorce, they did allude to the repercussions directly related to financial difficulties (e.g. relationship stress, relationship tension, etc.) to be contributing factors.

Nowadays, not only has divorce become largely normalized in American society but also it had been steadily increasing until 2019. The National survey results compiled from the American Community Survey data from the Census Bureau point to a slight decline in the divorce rates in the United States, asserting that in 2019 for every 1,000 marriages only 14.9 ended in divorce. This is the lowest divorce rate American has seen in the past 50 years, including lower than in 1970 when out of every 1,000 marriages 15 ended in divorce.

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health.  As such, please do not use any material provided above as a means to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.