Marriage Counseling

What is marriage counseling?

Marriage counseling is therapy for couples in committed relationships. The couple meets with a therapist, often once a week for several weeks or months, to address relationship challenges, navigate difficult conversations, and identify useful communication and problem solving techniques.


Cost of marriage counseling

Marriage counseling costs vary depending on the therapist and the couple’s insurance coverage. Private therapists in New York City, for example, on average cost between $150 and $250 for a one hour session.

Does insurance cover marriage counseling?

While it depends on your plan, it is uncommon for insurance to cover couples therapy or marriage counseling.

That being said, you should contact your health insurance representative directly, using their phone number for mental health benefits, and ask them if you are covered for couples or marriage counseling. You can also ask your therapist if they offer a sliding scale, or reduced fee, on an as-needed basis.

How marriage counseling works

Marriage counseling helps couples increase awareness of current patterns of interaction and their impact on their relationship. With the guidance of the couples counselor, partners are able to practice more effective and healthy communication, as well as problem solving techniques to increase relationship satisfaction.

What to expect from marriage counseling

Couples who engage in marriage counseling can expect to gain a deeper awareness and understanding of themselves, their partner, and their relationship. Through marriage counseling, couples can work to resolve conflicts and increase satisfaction in their relationship.

What happens in marriage counseling sessions

In marriage counseling sessions, couples can expect to be guided through a process of reflection on their relationship. The therapist facilitates communication between partners as they increase awareness of their individual and relationship needs and goals, as well as practical next steps to improve relationship satisfaction.

How to prepare for your first marriage counseling session

For the first marriage counseling session, each partner should come prepared to communicate their thoughts and feelings about their relationship. If any formal preparation is needed, the therapist will contact the couple with questions ahead of the first session. If the couple plans to use health insurance to pay for the session, the couple should check that their insurance covers the provider they have selected, and bring their insurance card as well as any co-pay to the first visit./p>

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What to expect at the first marriage counseling session

The first marriage counseling session typically includes the therapist asking about why the couple is seeking therapy at this time, the history of the the relationship, and intentions and goals of marriage counseling from each partner. Some therapists may have the couple meet with them individually for a part of the first session, while others will keep the couple together throughout the session.

Every marriage counseling session look different depending on the couple, the issues at hand, and the therapist.

What marriage counseling is like

In marriage counseling, the therapist will typically provide a structure to the session by facilitating specific topics of conversation, supporting the partners in effective communication, and suggesting different interventions to the couple with the goal of improving relationship satisfaction. Marriage counseling can take many different forms depending on the couple and the therapist. You can learn more about what to expect from marriage counseling on an initial call with the marriage counselor.

What is premarital counseling?

Premarital counseling (or pre-marriage counseling) offers couples considering making the commitment of marriage an opportunity to reflect on the relationship, share hopes and expectations for the future, and consider important aspects of their decision to marry.

Effectiveness of marriage counseling

Whether counseling will work for you and your partner depends on your situation. Finding and implementing effective solutions to relationship challenges can be difficult work, and marriage counseling can be an effective way for couples to improve relationship satisfaction with the guidance of a trained professional.

You may also find it helpful to attend individual therapy sessions in conjunction with marriage counseling.

What not to say in marriage counseling

If you are seeking meaningful change and results from marriage counseling, it is important to communicating your feelings honestly during the therapy sessions.

Like all forms of psychotherapy, you get out what you put in. While it can be difficult in the heat of the moment, it is also helpful to avoid blaming, shaming, power struggles and empty threats.

It’s natural for conversations to get heated if discussing challenging topics, and marriage counselors are trained to help guide you in the right direction in these situations.

Marriage counseling when you want a divorce

Marriage counseling is often sought out by couples experiencing significant conflict and challenge in their relationship, and therefore it is not uncommon for couples in counseling to eventually decide that divorce is the right solution for them. A marriage counselor will be equipped to provide support to the couple should it become clear divorce is the desired outcome of one or both of the partners.

Divorce can be a challenging stage of the relationship and having a therapist involved can be useful to navigating the separation process.

Online marriage counseling

Online marriage counseling can be useful for couples who prefer to seek services in the comfort of their own home. There are several different pros and cons to online therapy that each couple will need to consider for themselves.

For example, it’s important to remove any distractions at home (children, pets, work calls) when pursuing online counseling.

If you do decide online marriage counseling is for you, be sure to find a licensed therapist with experience and references as there are often less regulations and oversight of online counseling providers.

New to therapy? Learn about how to find a therapist here.