laying the foundation for your future together
An engagement is an ideal time to strengthen a relationship and prepare for a healthy, happy marital relationship, according to research on premarital counseling. This window of opportunity can even last through the first six months of marriage. Premarital counseling can reduce the risk of divorce by 30 percent. It can also help couples manage the stress of wedding planning. Premarital counseling presents an opportunity for couples to identify and resolve differences that can later cause conflict, understand each other at a deeper level, and learn skills that can help their marriage last a lifetime.
Even if you plan to be married by a member of clergy, there may be several reasons why you would prefer completing premarital counseling with a licensed mental health counselor or marriage and family therapist. We can offer specialized insight and skills that may be helpful if there is any mental health diagnosis in bride, groom, or any member of either family. We are bound to the confidentiality standards of HIPAA, and you may not feel comfortable confiding some things to a member of clergy. Clergy may also be limited in the number of premarital sessions they can offer, while we are happy to work with you for as long as you would prefer.
Our counselors are trained in several methods and can offer individual work with a couple, workshops, or online courses. Feel free to reach out, so we can help you find the best set-up for you!
Start Right, Stay Connected
IMAGO workshop for newly engaged and newly married couples
Start Right Stay Connected is a program founded on the most recent research as well as the clinical experience of hundreds of marriage counselors from around the world trained in Imago Relationship Therapy. Start Right, Stay Connected is relationship education, not therapy, and includes lectures, couple’s dialogues, and written exercises. In this one day workshop, engaged and newly married couples will learn:
Powerful communication skills
Practical tools for relationship “hot buttons”
Effective (and peaceful) conflict resolution
How to remove negativity from the relationship
How to keep romance alive, nurture, and grow your relationship
The Prepare/Enrich program is highly valid and reliable, developed through several research studies. It includes a customized couple assessment that is completed online. The inventory addresses several aspects of relationship, personality, family of origin, and relationship dynamics; it also includes several scales that are customized for you.
As a trained facilitator, your therapist will help you
understand the results of your individual inventories,
explore your relationship strengths and growth areas,
improve communication skills,
understand and appreciate your individual differences,
identify and manage major stressors,
resolve conflict, and
develop a more balanced relationship.
a faith-based program for engaged couples
Q: How many sessions is premarital counseling?
When a couple meets individually with a premarital counselor, it is generally between 6-8 sessions, depending on the curriculum chosen and scheduling constraints. Sometimes, a specific topic may require more than one session to fully explore to your satisfaction, which will result in more sessions than the average. It really depends on how many sessions you need and want to cover all the topics important to your relationship.
Q: What is the cost?
The cost can be dependent on which program you choose and who you choose to work with. Each of our providers may have a different hourly rate. You can schedule a free15-minute information session to help you determine who is the best fit for you and what their rate is. Programs with supplemental information and resources like Prepare/Enrich or Start Right, Stay Connected have additional costs.
Q: Are there other options?
There is an online course option for Start Right, Stay Connected for those couples who want to work at their own pace at home. We are currently creating a waiting list for those interested in a one-day online Start Right, Stay Connected workshop. To be added to this list please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: How do we know if we need premarital counseling?
Premarital counseling is a safe place to ask the questions you may not feel comfortable asking your friends or family. Wherever you are in your relationship journey, there is benefit in strengthening your relationship foundation and trust. As plan for your marriage, intentional conversations and communication strategies will help you prepare for life’s unexpected challenges.
Q: Who can we work with?
Tim Mallory is a Marriage and Family Therapist, trained in Gottman Method Couples Counseling, a Certified PICK 9.0 Instructor, a Prepare/Enrich Facilitator, and Great Start Facilitator with experience in both EFT and Imago relationship therapies. He loves working with high conflict couples.
Abby Hasberry is a Marriage and Family Therapist trained in Circle of Security and as a Prepare/Enrich faciliator. Abby enjoys working with couples in Texas.
Kristie Sinsbaugh is an intern, studying to be a Marriage and Family Therapist. She is trained in Gottman 1 and 2. Kristie loves working with blended families and all kinds of couples.