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Marriage And Relationship Counseling: How The Professionals See It

How the professionals see marriage and relationship councelingAs a do-it-yourself divorce service, we too often see relationships ending where one of the spouses would like to work on it and the other just wants out. But while marriage and relationship counseling may be the last thing one spouse wants to do, it can be greatly beneficial if given a chance.

Marriage and relationship counselors get to see this tug-of-war play out every day between couples, who run the risk of deciding to file for divorce. These trained specialists have been kind enough to share their experiences of what it’s like to work with a couple experiencing relationship difficulties.

Robert G. Kraft

Kraft, a psychologist in private practice in Omaha, Nebraska, said that his primary focus is on couples with intimacy issues. “They have often come late in their problems … and have developed difficult patterns and distrust. Helping them to develop trust and vulnerability with each other is sometimes a fruitful path. But there are a multitude of issues couples come with, so every couple brings unique challenges.”

Anita Sanz

Sanz, a holistic psychologist for more than 20 years, explains the challenges. “Trying to ensure that each person feels heard, understood, and respected without the other person feeling like you are taking sides or playing favorites is challenging,” she explains. “Defusing escalating destructive conflict is challenging. Trying to help each person see that there are no ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ in the relationship, just imperfect human beings who bring their own 50 percent to all of the problems or solutions, is challenging. Attempting to get real, honest intimacy going when this is new, unfamiliar, or there are unshared secrets is challenging. Keeping my sights on the ‘3rd client’ and, to me as the therapist, the most important client–the relationship or marriage–is challenging.”

Mike Leary

Leary is a psychotherapist in private practice. He started College Hill Counseling Center, which has been in business for more than 36 years. For Leary, marriage and relationship “runs the gamut” from “delightful to touching to frustrating.”

“Figuring out the puzzle of what they have brought to the relationship is kind of a fun thing but then trying to get them to see it can be quite difficult,” Leary said. “It is hard enough trying to educate and work with one person much less two. And especially when there is animosity so any move the one makes, the other is right there to try and slam them.”

Leary finds “seeing a couple who worked hard yet still, something just won’t click or one burns out the clock” to be a sad experience, and also notes that “when one gives up or a discovery of betrayal has occurred, it can get pretty ugly.”

“But seeing that look and having them laugh and get that sparkle back in their eyes, is very rewarding,” he added.

Whether you’re in the midst of a combative or a DIY divorce, consider giving counseling a try, and you may be pleased with what happens. At the very least, you can leave the marriage with fewer regrets.

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