Marital therapy is a psychotherapeutic service for couples to reconcile, to review their relationship, manage a crisis or to end their relationship harmoniously.
After a first meeting to assess the situation and the goal to be reached, the couple and the therapist will determine the appropriate mandate that will guide the therapy.
The first session of a marriage therapy is essential, because it allows to install a climate of confidence between the therapist and the members of the couple.
Throughout this meeting, the psychologist ensures that each member of the couple is heard and that his or her point of view is understood. This will allow the therapist o assess the difficulties faced by the couple and to define the mandate that will be pursued during the conjugal therapy.
Several sessions will follow the first meeting. Their number may vary according to the mandate, the initial situation and the goals pursued by the couple.
During these sessions, the therapist may meet the partners separately. These individual meetings help to clarify certain information with one or other of the partners. Indeed, it sometimes happens that it is more difficult for one or the other to mention everything with confidence during the conjugal sessions; especially when there is great tension between the members of the couple.
It is possible that during the conjugal therapy, the mandate changes. This decision may come from the therapist or clients and will be discussed in session.
Conjugal therapy will end when the therapist or clients suggest that it is no longer appropriate to continue the sessions because the goal has been met or for a variety of other reasons. In all cases, the therapist will remain available to initiate a new therapeutic process, if necessary.
With clients, we determine which mandate would be most relevant to meeting their needs.
During conjugal therapy, there are four mandates that can be suggested by a psychologist practicing conjugal psychotherapy , namely a mandate of reconciliation, the ambivalence management mandate, the crisis management mandate and the separation support mandate.
Often, members of a couple consult a therapist for reconciliation. After several months of conflict, or even years, and often, after several attempts at reconciliation, they turn to marriage therapy to help them regain the joy they once had to be together.
The main task of a reconciliation mandate is to identify the issues that prevent the two members of the couple from getting along as they wish: difficulty communicating, managing emotions, engage, etc. Once the main issue is identified, both members of the couple are asked to make the necessary changes to resolve the impasse that led them to therapy.
A reconciliation mandate can last between 10 and 15 meetings, depending on the nature of the difficulties faced by the couple and the availability of both members of the couple to solve the problem.
Sometimes one of the couple's partners is not sure they want to continue the relationship, for multiple reasons. It is important to consider the indecision of this member of the couple. To ignore this and to engage in a reconciliation mandate would be a mistake, as it could send as a message to the hesitant member that his ambivalence is not important, transient or even bad. It is therefore important for the couple to take enough time to understand where the doubts come from the member who shows ambivalence and resolve them.
In marital therapy, the ambivalence management mandate is to explore, in the person casting doubts, the part of them wishing to remain in relationship and the part wishing to put an end to it. Often, fears, injuries, frustrations accumulated during the relationship, or even before, will be identified and can be addressed in the therapy with the other member of the couple.
The ambivalence management mandate is usually short. It asks for a special accomodation from both members of the couple. Each of them will be expected to make no hasty decision about the future of their relationship for the duration of the ambivalence resolution mandate. This mandate also asks the member of the couple who has no hesitation to tolerate what comes out during the therapy and to accept that the efforts are not focused on the reconciliation of the couple during the duration of that mandate.
Once ambivalence is resolved, a decision can be made: continue the relationship or terminate it. Once again, clients may decide to discontinue or continue their therapy, this time with a reconciliation or separation support mandate.
Couples may experience crisis for a variety of reasons, such as significant career changes, bereavement, infidelity or betrayal by one of the couple's members, difficulties with children, illness, etc.
Given the intensity of the difficulties experienced, members of the couple may feel the need to turn to outside help in order to cope with this situation, which momentarily exceeds them. Marriage therapy will allow the couple to understand what is at stake and understand how to handle all these emotions. The goal is to help the couple get through this crisis by making the right choices for both spouses.
The Crisis Management Mandate normally lasts shorter than the others. Sometimes, one to three meetings will be enough to calm the storm in which the members of the couple were arriving in therapy. Sometimes the crisis is bigger and takes longer to resolve. In some situations, an individual therapy may be indicated for at least one member of the couple.
Once the crisis is resolved, the members of the couple can either continue their life as a couple without the need for professional help, or continue in therapy. It is not uncommon for a crisis management mandate to highlight a problem that exists within the couple before the crisis. A mandate of reconciliation could be advised.
Some couples will decide, after having discussed with the psychologist, that it is better for them to put an end to their relationship. However, a separation can lead to emotions, anxieties and even frustrations or disappointments for both members of the couple.
A separation warrant aims to help the couple revisit the reasons why they decided to end their relationship. Some couples will feel the need to be accompanied to make sense of what is happening to them. As part of a separation, couples therapy can also help manage the separation of property, child care and many other aspects of separation, in a harmonious way, without suffering.
The accompaniment of the separation lasts a few sessions and generally allows to find a certain friendship with the one with whom love is no longer an option.
You feel the need to be accompanied by a psychologist to find the peace and happiness of the first days of your relationship? Contact without delay Montreal Psychologists Network . Our network has a large number of qualified psychologists in couples who can follow you.
We invite you to ask all your questions to your therapist during your first therapy session, in order to establish a climate of confidence for the following sessions.