Marriage & Relationships

What is Marriage/Relationship Counseling?

All couples have conflicts or disagreement at times.  The difference between a happily married relationship or otherwise committed couple and an unhappy union most frequently involves the ability to discuss and resolve differences in a positive manner that respects the interests and needs of each individual.

Signs and symptoms

Common unhealthy, damaging relationships usually include such interactions as:

Hostility, verbal or physical attacks on the other person,
put-downs, name-calling or contempt for the partner,
defensive responses,
withdrawal from a disagreement,
escalating negativity in the relationship,
depression and anxiety.


Below are some common causes/barriers to having a healthy relationship:

  • Problems over in-laws, money, sex, gender role conflicts
  • Families with young children, children with disabilities
  • Fears and anxiety
  • Tantrums and behavior problems
  • Adolescents, school problems, and young adulthood
  • Drug and alcohol problems, eating disorders
  • Depression and suicide attempts
  • Losses, untimely, and traumatic loss
  • Career problems, midlife
  • Care taking problems
  • Stress of job, marriage, divorce
  • Family conflicts, divorce and remarriage
  • Aging family members
  • Inter-generational conflicts and cutoff

Screening and Diagnosis

Usually a couple meets with the therapist to discuss the problem, occasionally the therapist will see each person individually.    The meeting lasts one hour.  During the session it will be important to discuss the focus and goals of treatment.


Both behavior and cognitive therapies may be used while in treatment.  Your therapist might use a family system, solution focus, emotive, or other modalities of therapy to help you.

Coping Skills

Below are some typical skills to improve your relationship or to discuss with your partner.

  • Develop empathic, active listening skills
  • Improve problem-solving skills
  • Resolve conflicts in ways that meet the needs of both partners
  • Explore ways for old wounds (from this or previous relationships) to be healed
  • If possible, find ways to be mutually satisfying in the relationship
  • If not possible to stay together, then to separate in a healthy and respectful way.
All couples have conflicts or disagreement at times.