Stephanie Burchell, PhD, LMFTA
Copyright ? 2007 Life Course Counseling, All Rights Reserved
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Stephanie Burchell, PhD
3650 W. Wheatland Rd.
Dallas, TX ?75237
(214) 534 - 6177
Marriage Counseling, Family Therapy, Dallas, Duncanville, DeSoto, Cedar Hill ?
? ???????Marriage therapists are specifically trained and experienced in the methods, techniques and
application of marital therapy. The professional approach involved in marriage therapy is a distinctively and
qualitatively different approach than that of an individual counselor, psychotherapist, or social worker. The
primary difference being that individual counselors and therapists work via a single view or perspective -
focusing on individual and internal processes of the self. Marriage therapists take an alternative angle via a
systemic approach that requires the accommodation of multiple realities that exist within the dynamics of
relationship. It?s the difference between the solo artist or orchestra member.

? ???????When interviewing or working with a marriage therapist you and your spouse should feel equally
comfortable and respected by the therapist. There should never be a sense of partiality, as it?s the therapist?
s responsibility to ensure he/she understands, acknowledges and remains unbiased to spouses? positions. A
well trained marriage therapist should have the ability to balance both sides of the story, remain objective,
and support both partners toward negotiating toward an agreeable resolution.

? ???????A good marriage therapist does not draw conclusions as to the future stability of your marital
relationship ? this is not the objective. It is important that the therapist support and advocate for the marriage
and not for the progress of either partner.

? ???????There is a very practical side of marriage therapy that involves the establishment of goals for bettering
the relationship ? whether it be to reduce emotional distress, open lines of communication, or ensure security
between partners ? you should be knowledgeable as to the progress you are making over the course of
therapy. Although progress and change are complex indicators to measure you should reasonably expect to
begin to experience some relief following the second or third session.

? ???????Some couples believe that marriage therapy is about improving communication, learning new styles of
interacting, or gaining problem solving skills. Though these expectations are reasonable and will serve to
benefit any relationship, there is no ?quick fix? in marriage therapy. Even if the couple?s ability to
communicate does improve, if the deeper emotional needs of each partner are not identified, acknowledged
and processed problems will certainly arise in the future. If you feel your needs are not being fully met make
sure to voice your concerns to your therapist.
Marriage Therapy: Guidelines for Choosing the Right Therapist