- When couples come in to do "couples" work, when they really need to recover individually from past trauma or abuse.
- One partner is forcing the other to go against his/her will.
- When the goals of therapy aren't clear.
- When the couple isn't comfortable being in a small room discussing intimate details with a stranger.
- When the therapy or therapist is a bad match for the couple.
"Therapy isn't for everyone," says Baranov. But there are other options. Local organizations like the Council for Relationships, churches, hospitals and community centers often offer marriage seminars and classes for couples. Bookstores are often full of books and DVDs that can give a couple the tools to navigate the tricky waters of their relationship. Also, Baranov suggests that couples make time for one another and seek out new experiences together. Explains, Baranov, There's no substitute for uninterrupted time alone with your partner, to just focus on each other and show interest, attention, affection and love. [And] whether it's travel or cooking, language or art classes, anything new that you do together, tends to add a little more glue to the bond."
Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem M.Ed., a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist suggests that before a couple goes into counseling that they find a good therapist and evaluate their credentials, their biases and get to know where the therapist is coming from. "Therapists are people too," explains Belleghem, "sometimes a therapist and a couple just don't match up and that's okay."
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Other times failure is all in how you define the word. Explains Frederick, "Going through counseling helped me come to terms with my marriage's "failure" which was very difficult for me to accept. Now, I'm quite happy in my new life."