Certain PSI staff therapists are specially trained to work with diverse couples, including interfaith, same-sex, and separated couples. Our couples counselors are trained in a range of effective techniques, such as Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), PREPARE/ENRICH, Imago, and the Gottman Method. Some even have specializations in the treatment of sex addictions and work with the entire family system in recovery. In addition, our pastoral psychotherapists take a religiously literate and spiritually informed approach to interfaith couple’s specific concerns and can provide them with unique insight.
Encouraged by some religious institutions and required by others, premarital counseling offers couples an opportunity to reflect on your life together, identifying strengths and areas for growth in your relationship. With a trained counselor, you and your partner will look at areas such as:
- How you communicate: how do you let your partner know what you want? How do you share your feelings such as: hurt, disappointment, appreciation, tenderness?
- How you deal with conflict (including how you fight). Learn the difference between “You” messages, which often attack or blame, and “I” messages, which convey your wishes and feelings.
- Areas of stress in your current life and how you care for yourself and each other. (How do you soothe your partner? Yourself? What do you find comforting? Encouraging?)
- Financial management: making a budget; who pays the bills; exploring attitudes towards money and power sharing.
- Your families of origin: What are your traditions? How are they similar, different? What templates or norms are you bringing into your new relationship from the family you grew up in? Did they talk openly, share feelings, listen, collaborate?
- How do you arrange time alone and time together?
- How do (or will) you divide up and share household responsibilities?
- How do you talk about sexual matters? Are you free to say what you want?
- What’s important to you as you raise children?
- How are your spiritual traditions similar and different? What do you value?
Couples often find that this time for reflection and dialogue is an oasis in the midst of busy work lives and wedding planning. Officiating clergy may welcome this process as an adjunct to their meetings to plan the wedding. We strongly encourage couples to initiate this process at least six months before their wedding date.