Pre-Marital Counseling can be beneficial to many parents, especially when one parent is battling a mental health issue. This type of counseling is under-recognized in the world of mental health. This counseling will help the two parents better to understand each other throughout their life and decrease divorce rate among these individuals. This can help to identify each individual’s weakness and then help strengthen the weakness. Pre-Marital counseling also helps these couples so they do not burn out on trying to help the other person in the relationship. It will teach them skills to help one another, but also to prevent each other from burning out which could lead to a divorce. These couples can come individually or together or both if they are participating in this type of therapy. They come have to come for a minimum of six hours. They can break this six hours up or they can do it all in one day. After they complete this first requirement of pre-marital counseling, they have a follow up after six months and then a year and then as much as needed after that.
Types of Counseling
Sand Tray Therapy: Parents will use action figures and display a world. During sand tray therapy, each parent has a sandbox and action figures. They create a world and then go through it very specifically with one another. Sand tray therapy helps up things into context and see the other parents point of view of life. The members are able to ask questions about their story in order to help clarify how the specific member views life. This technique is typically used for kids in order to get them to explain how they are feeling through action figures. Therapist then got the idea to use it for mental health parent vs a non mental health parent in order to help one another explain how they are feeling.
Imago Therapy: Imago therapy helps people in a committed relationship work out their misunderstandings, reduce conflict, and rediscover ways to bond, communicate, and find common ground. The main part of imago therapy is learning to recognize how ones early childhood relationships impact how they communicate, behave, and respond to others in an adult relationship. This is going to help couples where one has a mental disability better to understand each other and help to reduce their conflicts later in life.
Internal and External Focus
Pre-Marital counseling will join two worlds together internally and externally. Internally it will help the parents to understand what is going through each other’s minds and be able to understand when one is having a rough day. For example, if the parent with the the mental disability is having a bad day, the other parent will know exactly how to handle it without burning out. They will know the process in order to best help the other one. Externally it will focus on family planning if there is a controversy. For example, on a holiday if there is controversy about which side of the family to spend the holiday with, pre-marital counseling can help the couple solve this before they get married so they have a tentative plan.
Pre-Marital Counseling will have a life-long benefit on these parents. It helps them to understand one another. If the parent that has a mental health ability is having an episode, the other parent will know how to handle it. This is helpful to these families because it will help them to agree on the same thing if they are having time with it. Pre-Marital counseling is so critical to help these couples before their issue grows into something bigger and unstoppable. Not only will Pre-Marital counseling help with the couples relationship, it will help them to plan for parenthood. It will help teach them how to plan accordingly since one parent has a mental health issue and how to deal with that while having kids.