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Getting married is such an exhilarating event. Many people think about it at least one time in their formative years. Most of us have thought about it, maybe even dreamed about it. It is so foundational, however, the preparation for such a remarkable commitment is usually not considered or truly explored. It is essential that topics such as communication, conflict resolution, finances, spirituality, family history, and leisure activities and shared interests are explored prior to marriage. It is essential to be aware of how you and your partner think about these topics — it is crucial to the survival of your marriage relationship. Research shows that couples who receive premarital counseling have a thirty percent lower divorce rate than couples who do not receive any (Scott Stanley, The Marriage Project), because of this, ITAF has developed various marital programs that would benefit couples depending on the behaviors and status of their marriage.

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Pre-Marital Counseling Program

It Takes A Family pre-marital program is designed for couples preparing to get married who desire a strong foundation of understanding before the commencement of their forever marital relationship. In this program, the couple will acquire, develop, and establish guidelines, goals, concerns, and expectations of marriage prior to getting married. It would be advantageous to the couple to start strong and identify initial triggers and behavior for repair when beginning to share a life or thinking about committing their lives as one. It is important to explore the benefits of repair and triggers with a trained therapist who will provide crucial focus and attention on how to circumvent issues which may lead to regret, internalization of feelings and cause resentment which may ultimately begin to cause demise to the marriage.

Man and woman in their wedding outfit

Post-Marital Counseling

The Post Marital Counseling program at It Takes A Family is designed for couples who are already married and typically recommended for married couples experiencing minimal conflict, usually with the ability to resolve most conflict without intervention. Conflict is usually derived from negative patterns of communication which build resentment and ultimately lead to a place of hopelessness in the relationship. These couples are capable of conflict resolution and understand their individual love languages on most days. The need for counseling may arise due to the expectations and responsibilities in the midst of the marriage as the relationship develops and evolves. Once the relationship gets complex, couples will find out that rules change because people change. Then the couples may begin to establish and set their own rules which is beneficial to their independent survival instead of viewing the relationship as unified, the couples begin to see the relationship individualistically. The Post Marital program will prepare couples when they begin to identify unusual patterns of confrontation. Conflict resolution may begin to become more challenging with a longer disparity in the length of time to repair. Communication becomes more difficult when there is conflict which place the relationship in an area of negative stagnation. This program will teach couples how to overcome these patterns and improve relationships while steering them back to a time of effective communication and understanding.

Man and woman hugging each other

Intimate Relationship Counseling

This program is designed for married couples or people who have been in long term committed relationship for a period of time. Couples who are experiencing persistent conflict without the ability to repair and may be experiencing epic downfall in their relationship while attempting to understand the changes in rules and expectations as well as wondering what went wrong should consider this program. Couples choosing this program are currently experiencing a breakdown in communication and are beginning to see how conflict can begin to create destruction of a relationship. Often at this stage, the couple is generally unable to resolve conflict without intervention and conflict is occurring more often with difficulty for the couples to fully resolve ongoing issues. In this program, couples are beginning to wonder if divorce is the only way out to ongoing continued discontent. The love language has been displaced and the ability to repair on their own no longer exist. There is a serious threat to the relationship which breaks down the foundation to the core. The couple at this stage notices that the cycle of time from one argument to the next is becoming shorter. This program begins to focus on the assistance in the relationship moving in a positive direction. Couples will explore tools for triggers and coping during difficulty in the relationship. It Takes A Family Intimate Relationship Counseling Program offers the beginning of change. Tools are provided to participating couples to equip them with the ability to make corrective actions and implement change which will offer alternatives to conflict and strengthen the relationship.

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Marital Cohorts Group and Support Groups

Using groups in marriage counseling is not a common occurrence, however at ITAF, we believe that is a beneficial aspect of counseling. Individual, couples, groups as well as marital cohorts are used throughout all our marital programs. Participation in marital groups provides an essential sense of community and awareness within a marital group. In addition to relieving emotional isolation, marital groups tend to empower individuals and couples to promote self-awareness, tolerance, and inclusion as they see their relationship evolve. Marital group counseling often encourages relationship building while viewing other perspectives in conflict resolution. By nature, we all are aware that relationships are challenging, and one aspect that makes them confusing is feeling that you maybe experiencing your circumstances in isolation. Spending time in a room with people who are going through similar issues helps participants to feel as though they are not alone. They can also view perspective which is an alternate of their own and possibly gain knowledge and understanding of how other couples resolve similar issues. Our use of marital cohorts and groups may provide support for couples outside of the counseling room. Our goal for couples is to develop self-identities and provide borrowed solutions which are not prevalent in their individual circumstance. Though group counseling is extremely effective, it is an optional mode of counseling for couples who believe they will benefit from this mode of counseling.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is possibly one of the most dangerous concerns for people who have experienced it. Typically, couples counseling is not recommended for couples who are currently involved in the act of domestic violence. ITAF takes a unique approach in providing treatment for the offender and the victim. Counseling is provided in individual and groups. Whether couples are in an abusive relationship, leaving it, or struggling to make it on your own, domestic violence counseling can be extremely beneficial. Survivors of domestic violence should make it prevalent to seek counseling services so that they can manage the impact of the violence or abuse, and to regain confidence. Most domestic violence can be prevented or stopped and becoming aware of it is the first step in the journey.

The aim and goals of It Takes A Family domestic violence program is listed below.

  • Create a safety plan.
  • Recognize red flags and warning signs.
  • Create an atmosphere where you can express feelings without fear of being harmed.
  • Learn how to validate feelings as well as the importance of getting your feeling validated by identifying feelings of reality and validity.
  • The ability to understand your own feeling and emotions as they result in action and reactions and they impact your relationship.
  • The ability to learn to express and understand that your feeling is a natural reaction to certain situations and alternative way of expressions.
  • The ability to develop and discover the causes and triggers of violence as it relates to the abused and abuser.
  • Due to the fact the abusers train their victims to feel negative about themselves, ITAF focuses on changing negative self-talk to positive self-talk and promote positive thoughts and the ability to think of yourself in a positive manner.
  • The ability to improve self-esteem through positive self-talk will help to have a positive self-image which will allow to continue to improve and build self-esteem.
  • The ability to learn and identify the hallmarks of classic manipulation.
Benefits of marriage counseling:
  • The ability to resolve conflict in a healthy manner which will equip the couple with positive communication language and help not only to listen, but also process and receive the words that are being said.
  • The ability to display assertive language in which your partner can receive it without infraction.
  • The ability to use and hear your voice clearly and openly without resentment or anger.
  • The benefit of processing your unresolved issue in a safe environment which will highlight the impact of your feeling and despair that is felt in a relationship.
  • The ability to have a deeper understanding of you and your partner and how both of you are impacted with words and feeling while engaging in a relationship.
  • The ability to express your needs to your partner in your relationship efficiently and effectively
  • The ability to express your needs from your partner in your relationship.

These are some of the few benefits to marriage and relationship counseling. Participation in ITAF marriage and relationship programs will highlight so many other benefits.