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What is couples counseling?

Couples counseling is a type of psychological counseling that can help couples address relationship issues, repair their connection, and improve communication.

It can help couples learn to identify and manage conflict, improve communication, and resolve issues in their relationship. Couples therapy helps couples get to the root of their problems and identify unhelpful patterns of relation and behavior toward one another.

It’s a place for partners to identify and explore their feelings, thoughts, and beliefs about their relationship. It often leads to a healthier and happier relationship.


What happens during marriage counseling?

During marriage counseling, a counselor will work with both partners to understand the issues that are causing tension in the relationship.

The therapist will then provide tools and guidance to help the couple resolve their problems. This may include learning about communication techniques, exploring each other’s feelings and perspectives, and developing new skills for managing conflicts.

This can include talking about the past or present, highlighting any misunderstandings, discussing any unresolved issues, and discussing any potential areas for improvement.

The marriage counselor will also help the couple to identify any behaviors or habits that are negatively impacting the relationship. Sometimes you might role-play conversations, practice asking questions, and learn new listening skills.

Coupes counseling sessions may also focus on topics such as understanding each other’s needs, learning how to compromise, and setting goals for the relationship. Ultimately, it is a form of therapy that is designed to help couples build and maintain a healthy, stable relationship.


Image of a couple sitting on the couch of a couples therapist facing away from each other. Showing how it can feel when you first come to couples counseling in Grand Rapids, MI. With guidance through marriage counseling that division can be closed.

What kind of couples counseling is there?

There are several popular marriage counseling and couples therapy methods. We believe one of the best methods that our providers use is the Gottman Method. The Gottman Method of marriage counseling is a scientifically validated approach to therapeutic services for couples. It is based on over 40 years of research with thousands of couples. The Gottman Method focuses on improving communication, increasing intimacy, and building a stronger relationship through friendship, trust, and mutual respect. The method includes assessment tools to identify strengths and areas of need within the relationship as well as evidence-based interventions to address specific issues. The goal of the Gottman Method is to help couples create lasting, healthy relationships.

Other marriage counseling methods include Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT), Positive Psychology Couples Therapy, Imago Relationship Therapy, and more.

Other forms of therapy that are helpful in couples counseling include:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This method focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to relationship issues. It helps couples better understand each other’s needs and concerns and learn to communicate more effectively.

Solution-Focused Therapy: This approach helps couples identify and focus on solutions to relationship problems rather than dwelling on the past. It encourages couples to develop strategies to resolve conflicts and improve their relationships.

Systemic Therapy: This approach helps couples explore how their family backgrounds and past experiences are affecting their current relationship. It helps them gain insight into their behavior and how it may be contributing to their relationship issues.

Narrative Therapy: This method of counseling helps couples create a shared narrative about their relationship. It encourages them to explore their strengths, identify areas that need improvement, and develop a plan to build a stronger relationship.


 What are some of the benefits of couples counseling?

 Improved communication

Couples therapy can be a great start for those who want to improve their overall communication and feelings of being connected with one another. Regardless of a couple’s situation, couples therapy can provide a place that helps couples work through issues in their relationships. It is often sought out by couples who going through a rough patch or who want to give their relationship a tune up so to speak. Couples therapy helps couples learn how to identify and express their needs in an effective way. They learn how to listen to each other with respect and compassion.

Increased understanding

Marriage counseling can also help couples increase their understanding of each other. Marriage counseling helps couples explore and understand each other’s feelings, needs, and perspectives. This can help couples learn to accept and appreciate each other’s differences. It can also help them identify shared values and develop a stronger, more intimate bond.  Couples therapy can also help couples get to the root of their problems and identify patterns of behavior that may be causing issues in their relationship. Through couples therapy, couples can learn to identify and address underlying issues that lead to conflict and gain insight into their relationship.

Improved trust and support

Couples counseling can also help couples build trust and support. Many couples struggle with trust issues. A marriage counselor can help by offering exercises that help couples communicate honestly and openly. In addition, counselors can offer advice about how to strengthen the couple’s bond and support one another through difficult times.

 Improved conflict management

Couples learn how to discuss and manage conflict in a healthy way. They also learn techniques to help them resolve conflicts in a healthy and productive manner. This can be especially beneficial for couples who have difficulty communicating or who have had problems in the past.

 Improved intimacy

Couples learn how to build and sustain intimacy in their relationship. They learn how to create, build and maintain emotional intimacy. They may also explore how to enjoy sex more!

Image of a wife & husband holding hands. Representing a common goal of couples counseling to increase intimacy. Rebuilding that spark is possible with support of a marriage counselor in couples therapy in Jenison & Grand Rapids, MI.

Other Reasons for Couples Counseling


Some couples come in simply because they want to communicate better. Or, they may need a place to talk about the difficulties of parenting a teen. Sometimes couples therapy focuses on a couples sex life. Other times a couple may need a place to talk about an upcoming big life change like moving.

Marriage counseling can be helpful for phases of life changes too. For example; when a spouse retires from work, when a couple become empty nesters, adjusting to having their first child, infertility problems, getting along with in-laws, etc.

Couples counseling can be helpful for those seeking to divorce in an amicable way too.

Couples therapy is also good for those who are looking to get married. Often this is called premarital counseling.

It can be a safe space to explore any concerns, identify issues, and work towards finding solutions to long-standing problems.


I’ve heard couples counseling didn’t help. Why?

There are a few important factors to consider to determine if couples therapy will help your relationship. It’s important to know there are many, many, other reasons beyond these why marriage counseling may not have been helpful too.

Lack of Commitment: If one partner is not willing to commit to the counseling process, it won’t work. Both partners must be willing to put in the effort if couples counseling is to be successful.

Unrealistic Expectations: Couples counseling can help many couples improve their relationship, but it cannot transform it. If the couple has unrealistic expectations, it can be difficult for counseling to be successful.

Poor Communication: Couples therapy is meant to help couples better communicate with each other, but if they do not have effective communication skills, to begin with, it can be difficult to make progress.

Unresolved Issues: If a couple has unresolved issues, such as infidelity or addiction, counseling may not be enough to resolve them. Couples may need to seek additional help or treatment.

Not Addressing Root Causes: Marriage counseling can help couples address the symptoms of their problems, but it cannot address the underlying issues that are causing the problems in the first place. If these root causes are not addressed, couples counseling will not be effective.

Divorce: Sometimes a couple will engage in couples counseling as a way to try to save their marriage. Once in a while, this works. Most of the time though, once one member of the couple or both of them have decided to divorce it won’t help them avoid divorce.


Reasons Why Couples Counseling at Great Lakes Wellness Counseling Works!

At Great Lake Wellness Counseling we help couples communicate better. Marriage counseling can help a couple learn how to effectively communicate their needs, wants, and concerns with each other. This can help to reduce conflict and improve understanding between both partners.

It helps to identify underlying issues. Often times couples will experience problems because of underlying issues that are not being addressed. Couples counseling can help to identify these issues and provide solutions for them.

Our marriage counselors help couples focus on the positive aspects of the relationship. It can be easy for couples to get caught up in the negative aspects of their relationship, but counseling can help to focus on the positive aspects of their relationship and how to build on them.

We provide a neutral third party. Having a neutral third party to provide insight can be helpful in that they can often provide an objective view of the situation and can offer insight into what is going on.

Our couples therapy helps to address unhealthy patterns. Unhealthy patterns can often cause a lot of problems in relationships, and couples counseling can help to address these patterns and provide strategies on how to change them.

What can I expect from my couples therapist?


First, a good couples therapist should demonstrate active and open listening, which means being present and engaged in the conversation and not judging or evaluating either partner. Second, a couples therapist should always respect each partner’s values and beliefs and provide a non-judgmental environment.

Image of a smiling couple walking along green grass & a dirt road. Showing the benefits of marriage and couples counseling in Grand Rapids & Jenison, MI. A couples therapist can help you build a bond like this.

A good marriage counselor should have an understanding of the dynamics of a relationship, including how communication styles and patterns can influence the relationship. Additionally, couples counseling experts should be able to empathize with both partners in order to better understand and address the issues in the relationship. Another sign of a great couples therapist is how they are able to remain objective throughout the process, even when it comes to difficult conversations. Often marriage counselors will provide guidance to both partners to help them think through and resolve the issues in the relationship. Finally, they are supportive. A couples therapist should be supportive of both partners, encouraging them to work together towards solutions and toward accomplishing the goal of the couple for therapy.

Start Couples Counseling in Grand Rapids, MI at Great Lakes Wellness Counseling

 Whether you are looking to improve communication, get support for life changes, or want to rebuild trust our marriage counselors can help you reach your goals. With couples counseling you can get the support you need to build and maintain a healthy relationship. In order to start couples therapy at Great Lakes Wellness Counseling follow these steps: 

  1. Reach out to us today at (616)202-1910 and get a free consultation
  2. Start couples therapy or marriage counseling with one of our caring couples therapists
  3. Begin setting and reaching your goals as partners

Other Therapy Services Offered in the Grand Rapids Area

Some of the specialties that we offer include Teen therapyAnxiety Treatment, and Christian Counseling. As well as specialized Depression Treatment, Therapy for Men, and Therapy For WomenThese services can be accessed both in person in Jenison and online throughout Michigan.