FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
- We’ve had relationship problems for years. Can couples counselling still help?
- I’m not sure I can afford marriage counselling. Comments?
- I’ve heard that my doctor could write me a note that would be helpful in arranging time away from work to attend counseling appointments. How does that work?
- Do you do marriage or couple retreats?
- Is marriage or couples counselling the only route to improving my relationship?
- What kind of couple’s counsellor will be best?
- Does Couples In Step do video or intensive counselling?
- Do you see us weekly?
- How many counselling sessions will we need?
- Do you see us together? Is there homework? Why does Couples In Step encourage 75 minute sessions instead of the typical 50 minutes?
- Do you do individual or family counselling?
A. Dr. John Gottman’s research has found that on average it is 7 years after a couple first recognizes difficulty that they attend marriage counselling. So you are not alone! Of course there is likely a long pattern of difficult or non-existent communication plus each of you probably feels very wounded and/or lonely. However your relationship can improve significantly if you are prepared to invest time, money, and effort! The research on EFT, the therapy model that guides counseling offered at Couples In Step has demonstrated it’s effectiveness regardless of the level of distress couples feel at the onset of couple’s counselling.
A. Yes, couples counseling is a financial investment. There are some ways you can lighten the financial load.
- Your therapy from Couples In Step can be partially or entirely paid for via your extended health benefits if you have them
- Couples In Step has reduced fees during non-peak hours (Monday-Friday before 3:30 pm). Perhaps you can consider flexing your work hours to accommodate couples or marriage counseling. Your doctor may be willing to provide you with a note (see next question).
- Couples In Step therapist Irene Oudyk-Suk has observed again and again that couples who spend time between sessions doing the relevant readings and watching the DVD’s that she suggests use the actual therapy time more effectively and in the long run appear to need fewer sessions.
- You can schedule longer sessions further apart. Typically therapy begins with weekly sessions. However you could arrange for bi-weekly sessions.
- Most extended benefit plans go from January to December. If you are able, you could postpone the start of your marriage counseling until the fall. You could then use up your yearly maximum from September to December and have access to your full benefit again in January.
- Remember that in nearly all cases divorce (even collaborative divorce) is a lot more costly than marriage or couples counseling.
A. Ask you doctor to write a note that reads something like this: “For medical reasons (name) is required to attend regular medical treatment appointments and may need time away from work to do so.” You do not have to be specific with your employer about what type of medical treatment.
There are also “Marriage Encounter” weekends, “Imago” weekends or “Gottman” weekends. Googling each of these terms will give you more information.
A. Consider attending a marriage or couple’s retreat. There are also many fine books that can be very helpful for couples. Couples In Step has listed a few of these on this website in the Resources section.
A. You deserve to have an excellent and well-trained marriage counsellor!
- It’s important that your counsellor is affiliated with a professional association. Feel free to ask about your counsellor’s professional credentials. Couples In Step therapist Irene Oudyk-Suk’s training and professional affiliations are detailed here.
- There are many different types of counsellors and treatment models. However there are not many marriage and couple treatment models that have been subject to research and found to be effective. And not all counselors have had training in marriage or couples counselling. Canada is home to one of the world’s foremost marital researcher and clinician: Dr. Susan Johnson. Dr. Johnson has developed Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT). So, if you are looking for help with relationship issues be sure that the therapist you choose has a good grounding in an effective model of martial and couple’s therapy. Couples In Step therapist Irene Oudyk-Suk receives ongoing training in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy.
- You want to have a good relationship with your counsellor. Research indicates that positive therapy outcome is contingent on the client’s positive feeling about the therapist.
A. In January, 2010 Couples In Step initiated an Intensive Therapy option for couples in crisis. You can read about Intensive Couples Counselling here. Video counselling is part of that package.
A. At first sessions are weekly. After two to four months bi-weekly sessions are possible. Whatever the frequency of sessions, couples should reserve about ninety minutes a week for relationship work. Couples In Step therapist Irene Oudyk-Suk will have plenty of suggestions for structuring this time. After two to four months of bi-weekly sessions marriage counseling may move to every three weeks or less. Dropping session frequency from weekly to bi-weekly and then to tri-weekly prevents excessive dependence on the therapist and pushes couples to practice the skills learned during counselling.
A. That depends. Length of marriage and couples counseling depends on several factors, such as how long you waited to start counseling after recognizing there was a problem, the depth of hurt each partner has suffered in the relationship, how willing and able you are to be vulnerable, and so on. Couples looking to resurrect their marriage from the aftermath of an affair will need extra time in therapy. Most couples experience a great deal of improvement in their relationship after 10 to 20 sessions.
A. Good questions! These questions and more are answered on the couples counselling services page nearer to the bottom of the page