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Why Individual Counseling for Marriage is Important

There are many things that go into creating a healthy marriage; love, trust, commitment and

communication to start. But what happens when things get dull or distant?

The tool of individual therapy in a marriage allows for a deeper understanding to form about

each partner's perspective on the relationship, and how their own mental health plays a role. It

can also help to address old issues that just can’t seem to get solved and to build a more robust

narrative for your counselor by giving them the details of your individual perspective, judgment

free. Many times when partners have been together for a long time, their conflicts are usually not

about new topics, but rather from something one or both parties continue to push away instead of

address. In a survey conducted by MidAmerica Nazarene University, an average of 49% of

married couples participate in marriage counseling at some point in their lives.

While marriage counseling can seem daunting at first, it is definitely something worth discussing

with a partner if you feel you’re not able to overcome obstacles without some extra help. This

turning point in your marriage can be a major opportunity for growth both personally and in your

relationship. It also allows you to peel back the layers of where issues began, getting to the root of the problem instead of only addressing the current ones. Individual counseling is

especially recommended for couples who may have one partner that is more hesitant about

couples therapy. Having that one-on-one before entering the session as a couple can help you feel

more empowered about your mental health, as addressing individual problems always comes

before addressing the issues in a relationship.

Several popular methods that counselors often use for couples counseling are Cognitive

Behavioral therapy, The Gottman Method, Emotionally Focused therapy (EFT), Positive psychology therapy and Solution-focused therapy (SFT). Each of these methodologies have their own benefits and structure, but the one that Constantly Healthy utilizes the most is the Gottman Method. This method is based on building intimacy, respect and affection by reducing what Gottman dubbed as the four horsemen of the apocalypse for a relationship; criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling.

Every marriage may approach couples counseling in a different way; some may have more

individual sessions than couples, some may have an even split, and some may finish their

therapy journey faster than others. It is all dependent on your specific relationship and how

you both show up emotionally, both in and out of therapy sessions. One major misconception

is that a relationship has to be on the brink of ending for counseling to be considered, when in

reality many couples seek help to learn how to communicate better or how to address difficult

topics; such as disagreements about finances, family-planning or major life transitions. Once you

are able to process your mental health issues and negative behavior patterns individually, it can

leave you with valuable tools to help move forward in your marriage as your best self. (This article was contributed by Rollins Clinical Psychology student, Shannon Caicedo)

Benefits of Individual Counseling to a Marriage:

➔ Boosting self-esteem

➔ Getting to the root of the issue

➔ Discovering how individual negative patterns interact in the relationship

➔ Creating a support system for yourself while simultaneously addressing relationship


➔ Having a safe-space to share your perspective

➔ Having an impartial third party to listen

➔ Receiving tools for the future to use beyond therapy


1. Schofield, M. J., Mumford, N., Jurkovic, D., Jurkovic, I., & Bickerdike, A. (2012). Short

and long-term effectiveness of couple counselling: a study protocol. BMC public health,

12, 735.





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