When to Reach Out to a Couples Counselor

When to Reach Out to a Couples Counselor


Reaching out to a couples’ counselor can be the first step or last step in your marriage.  Many people reach out marriage therapists when their relationship is on the skid.  Other people seek premarital counseling, especially if it is required by their church.  Our team of marriage and couples’ experts have shared when they recommend that you seek out a couples’ therapist. 

# 1 Amanda Landry, LMHC, CAP, NCC

Qualified Supervisor in Broward


There are three main times that couples’ often seek out my services:

1. Premarital counseling

2. Relationship discord

3. Consideration of divorce


Many newly engaged, about to be wed couples come in to discuss their differences, expectations and feelings about marriage.  Premarital counseling can be required through churches and synagogues; however more and more people are reaching out for marital counseling prior to getting married.  During premarital counseling, you can learn about your differences about how you were brought up in your childhood, your expectations about finances/roles/responsibilities and your feelings about what it means to be married.  Premarital counseling is beneficial for all types of couples that want to do some learning before they get married.

The main reason people reach out to be for couples’ counseling is to address some type of relationship discord.  Some of the reasons include, but are not limited to, infidelity, emotional affairs, addictions, problems with communication, constant fighting and conflict, ambivalence about the relationship, issues with parental roles, loss of passion and love, and the list can go on.  People seek out marital and relationship counseling when they aren’t happy in their relationship and one or both of the partners want to change that.  People can also be satisfied in their marriage or relationship but want to work on creating deeper connections or learning relationship skills that were not taught to them.

Finally, a lot of couples will seek out couples’ counseling as a final means to make their marriage work before they file for a divorce.  Doing couples’ therapy is cheaper (in most cases) than getting a divorce so it’s worthwhile to try couples’ counseling.  If you are considering getting a divorce, consult with a marriage and family counselor or someone who specializes in couples’ counseling to see if marital counseling is a viable option.

If you are considering seeing a couples’ counselor, you can find one of PsychologyToday, asking for a referral from a trusted friend/family member or choosing one of our contributors.  

Amanda Landry, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Pembroke Pines, Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-378-5381 or email her at amanda@amandapattersonlmhc.com.

#2 Michelle Scharlop, MS, LMFT


Sometimes people in a relationship find it difficult to communicate with each other. They recognize that there is a breakdown in communication but they are not sure what to do about it. When there is a lot of conflict, they know that they are in a negative cycle of repeating patterns of behavior but can’t break the cycle. They feel stuck and that puts stress on the individual and the relationship.

It can take years before people in an unhappy relationship ask for help. According to Relationship and Marriage Expert, Dr. John Gottman, couples wait an average of six years being unhappily married before they seek help. That is six years of unhappiness and resentment.


Ways to Approach Counseling to Your Spouse/Parent/Sibling

1. The first step is to talk to your spouse/parent/sibling and tell them you have something important you want to talk about. Make sure you ask, “Is this a good time to talk?”. That way you know that you will have their focus and you will have a chance to say what you want to say. If it is not a good time, then set up a time that works for both of you.

2. When you start talking, begin with how important they are to you and how much the relationships means to you. Share with them an example or two of the positive things about your relationship. Then share some things are bothering you and that you would like to see change so the relationship could be stronger and happier.

3. It is important to not point fingers and that you recognize a relationship takes two people not just one person. Try coming from a vulnerable place and explain that it is about figuring out what you both can do to make things different. Assuring the other person that this is not going to be a “blame game” but an opportunity to make the relationship better will yield a more positive result.

4. Explain how going to a Relationship Expert who is trained in communication and conflict resolution will give you the chance to walk away with tips and techniques that will help you feel connected and valued. The new tools and skills that you learn will improve your relationship.

5. Suggest you find a therapist together and talk about what would be important to each of you about the therapist. For example, their training, specialties, location, etc… OR you can research therapists before the conversation and offer some suggestions of names.

6. If after your conversation they have concerns, take time to listen to their concerns. Don’t interrupt or minimize their feelings but be curious about the reason they are hesitant.

7. If they continue to be hesitant and resistant, see if you can get them to commit to one session as a “trial” to see if it would be helpful and if it would be something that they would like to continue.

8. It is important to recognize that a Relationship Expert will give you both a new perspective on your relationship. While doing this, the therapist is an objective third party who does not side with either individual. Instead the therapist will focus on strengths of the relationship while neutralizing blame from either party. The benefits will be that as spouses/parent and adult child/adult siblings you will effectively face your concerns and be inspired to communicate in a new way.

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I am trained to work with all types of relationships. If you live in Plantation, Davie, Sunrise, Weston, or any of the nearby areas, I am the Relationship Expert that can help you break down the walls, stop walking on eggs shells and have the relationship you always dreamed of having with your spouse/parent/adult child/sibling.  Let’s join together so we can collaborate and get your relationship in a stronger, happier place. Give me a call today, so we can get started.

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