Building healthy relationships through marriage and family therapy

Frequently asked questions about Marriage and Family Therapy

My marriage is in trouble, what can I do?

Don’t put it off, get some professional help now. Often couples are afraid to admit that there is a problem and they wait too long. The distancing increases, things are said and done which are hard to take back. The right time to start improving the relationship is now!

What kind of help is there?

There are many different professionals who can help: Marriage and Family Therapists, Registered Psychotherapists, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Medical Doctors, Clergy. All have been trained in offering appropriate help. The training that each one has had will be different, so their areas of specialty will vary.

How do I choose which professional is right for me?

Try to match your specific need to the person who has the best tools to help. If it is a marriage or family issue, you might want to consider a registered Marriage and Family Therapist. We are trained in looking at the dynamics of relationships. Rather than focus on one individual as “the problem” we will help uncover the part that everyone plays. Once we understand the whole system, we can move the system towards change.

What do Marriage and Family Therapists do?

Mostly, we help you talk about the current situation in a new way. Providing a new perspective on the situation is the first step in change. We also help to increase the level of communication so that the thoughts and feeling which have previously been unspoken are brought out into the open. We also work towards lowering the tension level so that old issues actually get resolved. Sometimes we will also explore the differences in the families of origin and the results of our upbringing.

How do I choose a Marriage and Family Therapist?

Carefully! You will be sharing with this person intimate details of your relationship, so you want to make sure that there is a good “match”. Feel free to call up several offices and get a “feel” for the therapist. Most therapists will be willing to have a five minute chat on the phone with you while you are searching for the right match.

What kind of questions should I ask?

You are looking for two things: their professional competence and their personal style. For competence issues you will want to know what professional training they have had and what professional associations they belong to and if they are registered in their profession. Marriage and Family Therapists must have at least a Masters degree in relationship counselling and will have been supervised for a minimum of 1,000 client hours before they can be registered. The Canadian Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (416-907-4620 or 1-888-656-3495) can verify whether or not a therapist is a registered Marriage and Family Therapist and they can give you a list of registered therapists in your area.

The personal style of the therapist is harder to gage over the phone. Mostly you want to get a “feel” for whether or not this person is one that you can open up to. Trust your instincts!

How long does therapy take?

It varies with each situation. Normally Marriage and Family Therapists like to schedule one appointment each week for the first few weeks. (Sessions are generally about 50 minutes long, thus leaving the therapist 10 minutes to make some notes on the session.) The average number of sessions is usually around 8 – 10 sessions. Often by that time significant changes have been made in the relationship.

How much does therapy cost?

No doubt about it, therapy is expensive! Most Marriage and Family Therapists charge over $150.00 per session. Registered Psychologists usually charge over $180.00 per session. At Emmaus  Counselling Services we keep our “overhead” charges to a minimum and are able to pass on the savings to the client.

OHIP does not cover the cost of therapy (unless the therapy is provided by a psychiatrist). Some employee benefits plans may cover portions of the cost of Marriage and Family Therapy. Check with your benefits plan administrator to see what assistance you can receive.

You can expect to pay around $900.00 for marriage therapy. Given that the cost of divorce is over $6,000.00, working on the relationship may provide savings in more than one way!

How long do I have to wait to get an appointment?

Often the waiting period for Marriage and Family Therapists is quite short. Usually you will be seen within a week or two. It depends, however, on how flexible you can be. Most therapists will have some evening hours, but these usually fill up quickly. If you require an evening appointment you might have to wait a little longer.

Who should come to the appointment?

Whoever is involved! If it is a marital issue it is best if both partners come. If it is a family issue the therapist may ask the whole family to attend. This helps the therapist to see the situation in its full context.

What if my partner won’t come?

The therapist may suggest some helpful strategies to lower your partner’s anxiety and make it easier for him/her to attend. If, however, your partner still chooses not to participate, it is still possible to proceed with only one person present.

Emmaus Marriage and Family therapy