Family marriage counseling, also known as family and couple’s therapy, couple and family treatment, family systems therapy and family counseling, family psychology therapy and marriage counseling are branches of psychology which deals with relationships within families. Within this broad specialization, there exists a variety of family system perspectives. Some family marriage counseling is empirical and based on research while other family system perspectives are more descriptive and grounded on actual practice. Within family marriage counseling, there exists family systems theory, family structure models, family therapy models and family psychotherapy models. Many family marriage counseling sessions are supervised by social scientists or psychologists.
Many therapists and practitioners who specialize in family marriage counseling are trained from either the professional association of family therapists or by attending a full time graduate degree program in mental health or human services. Many family marriage counseling programs require students to participate in clinical internships in order to acquire their PsyD degree. This internship program is extensive and can last up to two years. A student who wishes to participate in an internship will be required to complete course work in family systems theory, family structure models, family therapy models, psychological assessment, research methodologies and research methodology, organizational skills and interpersonal skills.
Marriage and family therapists offer their services through private practices or in facilities that provide a variety of marriage counseling services. In a private practice setting, many marriage counselors offer a one-on-one or group counseling service in addition to their standard counseling practice. These types of counselors are highly trained in family system theory and know how to appropriately address emotional issues that may occur during the course of a marriage. Marriage and family counselors offer a variety of individual and family treatment programs, workshops, and seminars. They also can refer their clients to other professionals.
Most marriage counselors begin their career training by participating in a four-year bachelor’s degree program which prepares them to become licensed in the state in which they practice. Marriage and family counselors may also receive short-term residential treatment in a treatment facility for behavioral disorders and substance abuse. Counselors who choose to participate in a residential counseling program are given academic credit for their work. The majority of these treatment programs are residential and the environment is generally supportive and non-judgmental.
In contrast to family therapy, marital conflict resolution therapy is not focused on resolving marital conflict. Many people confuse this type of therapy with counseling because the latter strives to find resolutions to ongoing conflicts whereas marriage and family therapies are more focused on preventing negative events and behaviors from occurring again. Marriage and family therapists focus their efforts on helping couples resolve conflicts so that both individuals and relationships are able to grow and prosper. Couples typically go into this type of therapy seeking help with relationship problems that have arisen due to work or life stress.
Although each marriage situation is different, there are several things that can be expected from marriage counseling. Most clients will experience some sort of crisis at some point during the sessions. The nature of each marriage situation will dictate the potential types of issues that may arise during treatment. It is important to remember that even though a couple is having a difficult time communicating, they are still married. Professional marriage counseling is very important for successfully rekindling marriages.