Couple's Counseling


Couples therapy is a form of psychotherapy that can help you and your partner improve your relationship

Couple's Counseling

About the treatment

Couple's Counseling

Couples therapy (also couples' counseling, marriage counseling, or marriage therapy) attempts to improve romantic relationships and resolve interpersonal conflicts.[1]


Marriage counseling originated in Germany in the 1920s as part of the eugenics movement.[2][3] The first institutes for marriage counselling in the United States began in the 1930s, partly in response to Germany's medically directed, racial purification marriage counselling centres. It was promoted by prominent American eugenicists such as Paul Popenoe, who directed the American Institute of Family Relations until 1976,[4] Robert Latou Dickinson, and by birth control advocates such as Abraham and Hannah Stone who wrote A Marriage Manual in 1935 and were involved with Planned Parenthood.[2] Other founders in the United States include Lena Levine and Margaret Sanger.[5]

It wasn't until the 1950s that therapists began treating psychological problems in the context of the family.[6] Relationship counseling as a discrete, professional service is thus a recent phenomenon. Until the late 20th century, the work of relationship counseling was informally fulfilled by close friends, family members, or local religious leaders. Psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors and social workers have historically dealt primarily with individual psychological problems in a medical and psychoanalytic framework.[6] In many less technologically advanced cultures around the world today, the institution of the family, the village or group elders fulfil the role of relationship counseling. Today marriage mentoring mirrors those cultures.

With increasing modernization or westernization in many parts of the world and the continuous shift towards isolated nuclear families, the trend is towards trained and accredited relationship counselors or couple therapists. Sometimes volunteers are trained by either the government or social service institutions to help those who are in need of family or marital counseling. Many communities and government departments have their own team of trained voluntary and professional relationship counselors. Similar services are operated by many universities and colleges, sometimes staffed by volunteers from among the student peer group. Some large companies maintain a full-time professional counseling staff to facilitate smoother interactions between corporate employees, and to minimize the negative effects that personal difficulties might have on work performance.

Increasingly there is a trend toward professional certification and government registration of these services. This is in part due to the presence of duty of care issues and the consequences of the counselor or therapist's services being provided in a fiduciary relationship.[7] See also alienation of affection.

Basic principles

It is estimated that nearly 50% of all married couples get divorced, and about one in five marriages experience distress at some time. Challenges with affection, communication, disagreements, and fears of divorce are some of the most common reasons couples reach out for help. Couples who are dissatisfied with their relationship may turn to a variety of sources for help including online courses, self-help books, retreats, workshops, and couples counseling.[8]

Before a relationship between individuals can begin to be understood, it is important to recognize and acknowledge that each person, including the counselor, has a unique personality, perception, opinions, set of values, and history. Individuals in the relationship may adhere to different and unexamined value systems. Institutional and societal variables (like a social or religious group, and other collective factors) which shape a person's nature and behavior, are considered in the process of counseling and therapy. A tenet of relationship counseling, is that it is intrinsically beneficial for all the participants to interact with each other, and with society at large with optimal amounts of conflict. A couple's conflict resolution skills seem to predict divorce rates.[9]

Most relationships will experience strain at some point, resulting in a failure to function optimally, and causing self-reinforcing, maladaptive patterns to form. These patterns may be called "negative interaction cycles." There are many possible reasons for this, including insecure attachment, ego, arrogance, jealousy, anger, greed, poor communication/understanding or problem-solving, ill health, third parties, and so on.

Changes in situations, like financial state, physical health, and the influence of other family members can have a profound influence on the conduct, responses, and actions of the individuals in a relationship.

Often, it is an interaction between two or more factors, and frequently, it is not just one of the people who have been involved that exhibit such traits. Relationship influences are reciprocal: it takes each person involved to cause problems, as well as to manage them.

A viable solution to the problem, and setting these relationships back on track, may be to reorient the individuals' perceptions and emotions - how one looks at or responds to situations, and how one feels about them. Perceptions of, and emotional responses to, a relationship are contained within an often unexamined mental map of the relationship, also called a 'love map' by John Gottman. These can be explored collaboratively and discussed openly. The core values they comprise can then be understood and respected, or changed when no longer appropriate. This implies that each person takes equal responsibility for awareness of the problem as it arises, awareness of their own contribution to the problem, and making some fundamental changes in thought and feeling.

The next step is to adopt conscious, structural changes to the inter-personal relationships, and evaluate the effectiveness of those changes over time.

Indeed, "typically for those close personal relations, there is a certain degree in 'interdependence' - which means that the partners are alternately mutually dependent on each other. As a special aspect of such relations, something contradictory is put outside: the need for intimacy and for autonomy."

"The common counterbalancing satisfaction these both needs, intimacy, and autonomy, leads to alternate satisfaction in the relationship and stability. But it depends on the specific developing duties of each partner in every life phase and maturity".[10]



Couple's Counseling

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Couple's Counseling

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Review 3


My husband and I have been traveling and needed a way to de-stress. I emailed over the weekend and called and Dr. Gwin, the person I wanted to speak with, was out of town. However, Eric, the Co-director, put us in touch with Bev and she came in on her day off to accommodate our schedule to do some craniosacral therapy. Eric even contacted me to be sure that appointment was going to work. All more than I would have expected! We arrived and just upon entering, felt the tensions beginning to leave. The atmosphere is so supportive! We also decided to take an infrared sauna and “whole body vibration therapy,” which I had never tried. I highly recommend both! Most of all, I recommend the practitioners. This is a true gold mine! THANK YOU!


Review 2

KWRH Radio

The practitioners are highly skilled and work together to create a full range of modalities under one roof. The facility exudes peacefulness, warmth and love. The products that are used are of the highest quality. This high level of professionalism starts at the top with Dr. Gwin Stewart. Congratulations to Dr. Stewart on creating an exceptional health and wellness collaborative. Our community is blessed to have the St. Louis Wellness Center in our neighborhood.