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What are Marriage & Family Counselors?

Updated on July 15, 2013

Can You Really trust Marriage & Family Counselors?

When a couple has any sort of problem in their relationship, they need to seek help from someone they can trust. They may go to see a marriage & family counselor, also known as a couples therapist or marriage and family therapist. Marriage & family counseling is designed to help couples develop new ways to handle problems or challenges in their relationship.

A couple does not need to be married in order to consult a marriage & family counselor. If a couple can get the proper tools and professional advice from one of these trained professionals, the relationship may be repaired and may be better than ever


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Most licensed, professional marriage & family counselors and therapists are worthy of your trust

If you're having problems in your relationship, perhaps it is time to consider getting some outside professional help. Take a look at the following information to get an idea of what these trained professionals do, how they could be good for your relationship and how to find the best one for you.

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15 Ways Marriage Family Counselors Can Help You

• Improving communication

• Make the right decision regarding divorce

• Deal with infidelity

• Help with substance abuse in a relationship

• Deal with the mental illness of a partner

• Resolve cultural differences

• Handle same-sex relationship problems

• Deal with unemployment

• Helping with sexual problems

• Deal with physical problems

• Challenges of blending families

• Assist in child-rearing conflicts

• Deal with challenges with infertility

• Help for anger or rage issues

• Transitioning into different roles like retirement, disability, etc.

What is Marriage & Family Counseling Exactly?

Marriage & family counselors helps couples and individual partners - whether they are married or not - to improve their relationships. They do this through helping couples to identify specific problem areas, understand issues that hinder the relationship and ultimately resolve problems.

These services are provided by highly trained and licensed professionals who know how to provide tools and teach couples to work toward a better, more fulfilling relationship.

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Couples or individual partners don't need to be experiencing trouble in a relationship to see one of these counselors or therapists. Sometimes a couple or partner may just want to know how to make their relationship better, stronger or more fulfilling.

Perhaps one partner may simply desire to know the other partner better, to gain a more complete understanding of their partner.

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Marriage and family consolers can also provide help for those couples who desire to be married at a future date. Many churches or other types of organizations will offer free pre-marital counseling to those couples who want it.

Sometimes this pre-marital counseling helps a couple become even closer. Sometimes it may help a couple discover that they may need to rethink marriage altogether.


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How Marriage & Family Counselors Help Couples

When a couple decides that their relationship needs help, the first thing they do is enlist the assistance of a marriage and family counselor. Typically, these counselors, or therapists, will work with couples together in a joint therapy session.

In this way the counselor can help a couple pinpoint areas of conflict, maximize methods of communicating or learning how to solve specific problems in a better, more beneficial way.

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In cases of substance abuse, mental illness or violence, these trained counselors or therapists may work along with other medical or health care professionals to provide treatment for every aspect of a couple's problems. Some couples or partners may find talking openly with a therapist or counselor to be difficult.

Sometimes, a session may pass without anything being said at all by one or both partners - and that may be OK. Trained counselors and therapists will provide guidance and advice during these sessions that will help both partners to find a workable solution even if one partner refuses to participate.

Making the decision to see a trained marriage & family counselor together, as a couple, is the best way for both partners to get the help they need.

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How to Find a Good Marriage & Family Counselor

Start your search by asking some of your friends who have been to see marriage & family counselors or therapist. Don't be afraid to ask, you might be surprised how many people you know who have been to see or are still seeing a counselor or therapist.

You can also check the website for the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists at aamft.org. Using your zip code, the therapist locator will provide information on marriage & family counselors or therapists on you local area.

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How do judge whether a marriage & family counselor or therapist is good or not so good. Generally, you can determine this from the first phone conversation with a counselor or therapist.

Do you feel comfortable? Do they put you at ease? Does it seem like they would be easy to talk with? Having an extended conversation with them will tell you if you feel like they will be a good fit for you.


You need to know that most therapists and counselors specialize in certain areas. Ask what percentage of their practice is devoted to marriage, family and couples therapy. Find out if they have specific experience with your type of problems.

For example, if you are having substance abuse issues in your marriage, going to a counselor or therapist who specializes in infidelity amy not be much help. Also, take a quick look at their website, that will tell you a lot.

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Would you ever consider going to seek help from a licensed, professional marriage & family therapist?

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