Is Marriage or couples counseling expensive?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

End of Marriage

Marriage mistakes.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How much does Marriage or couples counseling cost?

Lots of people know that they need couples counseling. They have heard about and thought about the things relationship counseling can do for them. They are considering it for all sorts of reasons. What they want to know when they ask about the price tag is often, can they afford it and then will it be worth the price.

It is unfortunate that this question comes in as often as it does. Couples counseling can help. Sometimes it helps a lot. Couples therapy can even help if you have both decided it is over and you want out. This is extra true if there are children involved.

Sometimes couples counseling can help you repair a damaged relationship. Other times it can help you both work through the decision to separate. Remember that if there are children, family, and friends or even pets to consider, the more you can agree on, the less the trauma and cost of taking this to the lawyers.

More than one couple has come in thinking it was all over and they needed to work out the details of the divorce and by the time the relationship counseling was completed they had rediscovered the things they liked about the other person and the relationship was off life support and on the mend.

Couples, married or not, should get the help they need to keep their relationship healthy and growing and the price of seeing therapist shouldn’t be the deciding factor. If there are children involved they need the help in working out the ways to make this less traumatic for the kids.

Let’s look at what is involved and then what it may cost you in time and money.

A good couples therapist can help interrupt the conflict and give you a chance to try on some new behaviors. Sometimes just finding out that what you are going through is typical for a relationship at the stage you are at can be helpful.

The counselor can give you a different way of looking at your issues and can help you develop and practice new skills. The things that brought two people together are often the things that are pushing them apart. The skills you need to start a relationship are not the skills you need to maintain one.

Once your relationship begins to change the common tendency is to blame the partner.  You think they need to change or that you need to get out of this relationship and find someone else. It is rarely that simple. Pick a partner and you get a set of problems. Change partners and you change problems, often for the worse rather than the better.

Most couples end up going to very few couple’s sessions.

The average couple, according to one study, attends couples counseling about 6 times. A few couples may opt for more sessions than that, say twelve or more. Beyond that, you are probably not working on conflicts. You will have transitioned to more of a relationship coaching situation where you are working on growing the strength of your relationship rather than trying to save it.

Some of the how long or how many sessions partially depends on the nature and seriousness of the issues. If there has been an affair the non-affair partner may need time to work on their own pain and issues separate from the couple’s issues.

We often discover that there are personal issues that one or both of the parties are working through. Hidden underneath the “couples issues” and “lack of communication” there are often long-standing serious substance use or childhood issues.

Just the dollars and cents, please.

Divorce

Divorce
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Price for couples counseling varies from area to area. In major cities, the prices can be higher but then so is the office rents and everything else. In my area, the “usual and customary” rate is on the order of $100.00 to $150.00 an hour. A few very new counselors may be lower and some old timer’s with very busy practices charge more.

Relationship issues are not considered a mental illness, even if your spouse is driving you crazy. Most medical insurance or public funding will not cover relationship issues or the coverage will be limited. There are cost-cutting things you can do. Some Employee Assistance Plans cover relationship issues. There are low-cost clinics and some counselors offer sliding fee scales for low-income people.

Relationship counseling may turn out to be a bargain.

Even if none of those options work for you and you are looking at paying out-of-pocket consider this:

How much will the divorce lawyer want for a retainer? Do the math. Six sessions at the average price that works out to six hundred to nine hundred dollars. Less than a lawyer. Less than deposits and rent for a second place. Way less than the cost of a custody dispute.

How much time and effort have you put into this relationship? There must have been some reason you two got together and stayed together besides the booze that first night.

If there is any chance of fixing this don’t you owe it to yourself to invest a few bucks in trying to make this relationship work?

One thing I have noticed also. Those people who divorce, they often end up quickly getting into a second or third relationship. A bit later those repeat relationship’s end up in therapy to work on the reasons their past relationships did not work.

My hope is that this post helps put the costs, financial and emotional, of relationship counseling into the larger perspective of the cost of abandoning a potentially good relationship, the effects on the children, family, and friends of not trying to learn how to have a good relationship.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Ready for a life makeover?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Spring flowers

Spring is here.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Spring cleaning for your new life.

The winter season is coming to a close. Spring is approaching. Time for spring cleaning and getting the house and you spruced up for a new year. People often get makeovers for their looks and their clothing, sometimes for their places, but have you considered getting a makeover for your life?

Here are some things you may want to consider changing to create a new, clean and effective new you.

1. Clean out the toxic habits.

Take an inventory of your life. Are there habits that became a part of your life that are toxic? Do you smoke, drink to excess or do drugs? Would now be a good time to get rid of that habit before it becomes an addiction?

It is not just chemicals, drugs and alcohol, which may need ejecting from your life. Behaviors can be just as addicting, mentally and physically, as drugs. What behaviors have taken over your life uninvited?

Do you waste time complaining or gossiping, dwelling on personalities as some like to call it? Would now be a good time to resolve to work on issues rather than talk about people? Are there other habits that are harmful to your happy, productive life?

Have you settled for passive behaviors, watching sports instead of playing them? Are their activities that have become huge time wasters and which add nothing of values to your life? Get rid of the things that waste your time and spend that time on becoming a better happier you.

2. Update your friend’s list.

Do you have people in your life who are on the friend’s list, the electronic friends or associates you hang out with, that are bad for your emotional health? Consider if there are people you have been calling friends that are anything but a friend.

Is it time to work on making some new friends? Get yourself out there, say hi, put your hand out and start making new friends. You will begin to copy the people you hang out with. Show me your friends and this will tell us who you are.  Maybe your friends need an upgrade?

3. Shop for some new options – set new goals.

Has your life drifted into a rut? Are you aimlessly drifting along in life? It may be time to set new goals, rearrange your priorities and head off in a new direction.

Were there things that you said you will do someday? Have you done them? Do not wait to create your “bucket list” until you are too old and weak to carry a bucket. If you knew time was running out, what would you want to do? Why not start doing those someday thinks today?

4. Refurbish your career.

Do you have a job or do you have a career? Work on creating a job that you enjoy going to. Make it into a career. Find something to do that you feel good about and you will find work is less of a chore and more of a life mission. Why do unpleasant work when you can do something you love all day and get paid for it?

Has your career gotten shabby and worn? Does it fit who you have become? Is it time to start shopping for ways to rework that career? Get more training, look for more opportunities in the place you work or possibly launch out in a whole new direction.

In your lifetime you probably will need to move a bunch of times and if you are like most people you will end up changing jobs many times in your life. Start planning where you want to land when you leave where you are.

5. Get a new look.

Does your wardrobe need updating? Maybe just some outfits that are less shabby and worn? If you remember when you got that article of clothing, the decade, rather than where, it may be time for a change.

6. Fix up your nest.

You spend a lot of time where you live. Make it as comfy and cozy as possible. Most people have accumulated more stuff than they can use. Do you live in the land of clutter? Now is the time to part with the out of date, the things that you keep because you have them not because you want them.

Hang some new pictures, rearrange a few things. What in your living area says “I live here?”

7. Try on some new hobbies.

Is there something you always wanted to try? Is now the time to try out that activity? Take up a new skill. Learn to cook. Find a hobby or craft that suits your lifestyle.

8. Visit some new places.

Get out of the old rut. See some new places, travel a little. Even something as simple as taking a different route to work can spark some new ideas and new experiences.

If a tourist came to your hometown where would you take them? Have you taken yourself there? What wonders await you just around the bend? Seeing things in person is a far different experience than looking at the pictures on the internet. Ask yourself what you would like to see or experience first person.

Attend some festivals. Enjoy the pageantry.  There are annual events all around you. Historical reenactments abound.

9. Make some repairs to your relationship.

Does your relationship need some work? Has it become shabby and run down? Do some things to repair the cracks that have developed between you and your partner. Good relationships require maintenance. The best relationships are between people who, once they notice the relationship has some damage, drop their pride and work on making the repairs.

What areas of your life need remodeling or repair? Are you ready to start on some personal improvement?

For more on these topics see: Relationships,  Family ProblemsSelf-improvement   

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Why DCFS says see a therapist

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Therapy.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

You have a lot to do – why do they say you need therapy?

Clients tell me that “I am not crazy. I don’t need to be here.” Mostly I tell them I agree they are not crazy. But I do think some counseling or therapy could help them. Counseling may help them develop better life skills, find a better job, have better relationships, be a better parent or it may simply get that agency off their back. Government agencies, DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services), CPS (Child Protective Services, Parole, Probation and welfare agencies of all sorts refer people to see therapists every day.

People often come because someone, somewhere, who has some control over their life says they need to see a therapist or counselor.  They may not understand why, but I do think seeing a counselor or therapist could help them. Here are some reasons you might get a referral to see a therapist and how to make use of that referral to improve your life.

Depressed parents create problems for their children.

Depression, anxiety, stress and a bunch of other problems do not just affect the parent. If you have struggles they are affecting your children. Being a parent is a lot more than the simple mechanical part of reproduction.

Most parents try to be the best parents they can but if you’re struggling each day just to get through the day you have nothing left to give your child.

The time to get help for your children is “the sooner the better.” Some things they may just outgrow but if you go for help no harm done. If your child does need help early intervention can change the trajectory of their life.

The most powerful intervention for children many times is helping their parents work out their problems. Marriage counseling for the parents can be helpful to a child with ADHD. Who can concentrate in school when your parents were having a loud argument last night?

Parents who are struggling have difficulty with relationships.

It takes a lot more skill to have a happy relationship than most people think. Navigating life takes skill unless you have fantastic luck. Even the lucky need some skills to make use of those lucky breaks. What is happening in your life affects your relationship. What happens in your relationships affects your life.

If you and your partner are having conflicts at home that results in you taking that relationship stress to work. Being in a bad mood after an argument with your partner may cost you your job.

The reverse is also possible, Have a tough day at work and you are at risk to have arguments with your partner. Learning relationship skills that help smooth the way at work and at home can make your life more successful. A counselor can help with all these skill sets.

Finding a job is good for your mental health.

Finding a job is tough sometimes, the worse the economy the tougher that search becomes. Plenty of people have come to counseling discouraged. They may have been trying really hard but their job search is not working. They are applying at places that are not hiring, they lack the skills for the job they want and they had not thought about doing the job that is hiring.

Career counseling can help you figure out what job you want to do, what you might be good at and how to get from where you are to where you want to be.

Getting a job does wonders for many people’s mental health. Finding a career that you love and that pays well can make a permanent improvement in your mental health. When you are down it is harder to find a job.

If your parents were not good at parenting you will have difficulties.

If your parents were not the best or if you were busy growing up and missed the lessons on being an adult and how to parent you should have received, then counseling can help.

Clients with no children and no plans to become parents can still benefit from taking a parenting education class. You may need to learn about the developmental tasks you should have learned at each age and if you did not get them along the way you need to learn them now.

Besides, you may encounter children in life other than your own and it is helpful to know about them.

Staying mentally healthy is a skill people can learn not something you were born with.

Regulating your emotions is a skill and skills can be learned. Some people picked this up on their own. Some had great teachers or parents in their life. Most of us had to learn about anger and sadness and how to cope with negative emotions the hard way.

There are things you can do every day to improve your mental health and there are things you may be doing that can make that emotional life of yours worse.

Most people know about skills to stay physically healthy whether they use those skills or not. Learning skills to be mentally healthy, that is something you might need help with. You could get that help in small doses from the internet or reading self-help books, but to really get focused help working on your problems you need in person individualized help.

If your emotional issues have gotten severe enough that you have developed a disorder, a mental illness, depression, anxiety, a substance use disorder or anger problems, then for sure you need professional help to get out of that mentally unhealthy place.

You could wait for that physical illness to just go away on its own but most people are wise enough to go get medical help when they have an illness in their body. A mental or emotional illness responds to treatment in the same way.

Many people do not have good support systems.

Some people have great support systems, most do not. Family and partners can get worn out listening to your problems and sometimes what you need most are to talk those problems out.

The family gets emotionally involved, they want you to do certain things or not do them. They may take sides in disagreements. A counselor can be supportive while helping you find the answers that are best for you.

Stressed out people tend to use drugs and alcohol to cope and the family pays the price.

A huge number of referrals by agencies are for people who are using or abusing drugs or alcohol. The agency may not even know that you are using, but excessive reliance on substances can result in impaired ability to fulfill the other roles in your life.

Many people with emotional problems turn to substances to cope. A little beer or wine to relax or some stimulants to keep going. Over time that reliance on a substance can begin to cause problems rather than solve them. A counselor can help you judge whether your use is impacting other areas of your life and help you decide what you want to do about that.

I have written in other places about the times that the counselor has to report that kind of use and the times they can maintain that secret. That is a long discussion and you may need to read those other posts or the full version in a book that I am working on that should be out soon.

Rest assured that most therapist’s goal is to help you cope, not to get you to say something that they will use against you.

If you have been referred to counseling or therapy consider what you want to accomplish in your life and how that counselor might be able to help you make your life better.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Family Counseling for Family Problems

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Family

Family.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Can counseling help family issues?

Every family has some family problems soon or later. Some of these family problems are more serious than others. Most families try to work out their family issues without help from professionals. If you have tried the usual ways of dealing with or avoiding the problems in your family and those problems continue to cause you problems, now might be a good time to think about some family therapy.

Families may have difficulties that are unique, at least in the specifics, but there are some common issues that bring families to counseling. Here is a list of some of the more common family problems that might benefit from seeing a counselor.

You have old personal issues that need to be dealt with.

In the rosy glow of a new relationship, you may think that now your life will be better, your problems are solved. What most couples find is that it takes two mentally and emotionally healthy people to make for a healthy relationship.

If one or both of the members of this couple have unresolved life problems, they are on their way to creating an unhealthy relationship. People with serious mental illnesses can get together and develop a great relationship, but one requisite for that is that each of those two people need to work on themselves and their problem.

If one of you has “anger issues” or a substance use problem, that old issue is sure to move from being one party’s problems to being a family problem.

Trouble untying the knots to their family of origin and creating a new family.

Creating a new family unit requires navigating the sea of changing relationships from being a child in one family to being the adult in another family. Some parents find it hard to let loose of their married children. Some people, new in a relationship, keep pulling their past family into the mix.

Calling your parents or your siblings, even your friends, to discuss every piece of your couple’s relationship is likely to create a cluttered and uncomfortable relationship.

Cultures and families are or different. Some stay close forever and some quickly separate and become independent adults. If you and your partner are not in agreement on the role of parents and relatives in your new family this can create tremendous friction.

When disagreements and family problems arise, running to your family for advice and consolation can create the situation of alliances. Once you complain to your family about your new spouse you have poisoned the relationship. Do not expect to tell others your partners faults and then for them forgive them when you do.

Arguments over whose family to involve in holiday celebrations and which family’s routines and rituals to adopt are common family relationship problems.

You are not on the same page about where your family is going.

In new relationships, there are lots of expectations. There is generally a raft of things you forget to question or discuss. If religion is important to one member of the new couple, how does the other person feel? This is rarely something that will just work itself out as time goes on. Add children and the conflict grows.

If one person is a drinker or a drug user and the other person is in recovery this becomes a huge issue. Are you two in agreement about the role partying and drinking will play in your couple’s life? If one of you quit will the other quit also or will they sabotage your recovery to enable their continued use of a substance of abuse.

Your love fantasy can’t stand reality.

When you first fall in love you tend to idealize your new partner. The man is Prince Charming the woman is Cinderella. That all fades as the magic dust wears off.

Prince Charming turns into the troll and Cinderella becomes the ugly stepsister. If you had an unrealistic expectation of your partner and of what family life with them would be like, you are headed for trouble.

Stressful times cause family issues.

Life is full of stress. Being a family can make for more stress not less. Sharing the burden can lighten the load, but the load gets heavy the longer you carry it. What will happen to your relationship when life drops its stress on your couple relationship?

Unemployment, sickness, economic hardship are all likely in life. Some days are good ones and some are not.

Lifespan events magnify family problems.

Certain events happen whether you are prepared for them or not. Couples have children and the children grow and change. Or you plan on children and they do not materialize. Jobs come and go. You grow older. What used to be fun isn’t anymore. Then one day you begin to face growing older. The children leave the nest and you wonder what happened to the person you married. What happened to you?

Creating a family ended the couple.

Some couples discover that in the process of creating a family they lost the relationship between them. The years go by and if you do not work on being a couple you may find that you have nothing left once the children leave.

Some people compensate for this by trying to stay a part of their children’s lives. They can become the over-involved meddling parents that caused them problems early on. Other people separate or divorce. With no children left they can’t find anything they still have in common.

Baggage and Blending create family problems.

So you get together and you break up and then you get together again? In this process rather than reducing your pile of problems, you may well increase them.

Certainly, there are great second marriages. But each partner comes with a set of problems and changing partners does not eliminate your problems, it just offers you more issues to work on.

Now you have not just yours, mine and ours, problems, but also exes and their new spouse problems along with step and half, and so on family issues.

If these or other family problems are distressing you and your family consider getting professional help. An independent third person in the room can facilitate talking through and resolving your family issues. Marriage and Family therapists are specially trained in working to help families create their happy life.

Does your family have family problems you need to work through?

For more posts on Family issues see:  Family Problems

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.