Premarital counseling is one of the many services offered by our team at The Counseling Hub! As you may know, we specialize in individual counseling and couples therapy or marriage counseling. Premarital work definitely falls under the couples therapy or marriage counseling umbrella, but it’s slightly unique than other types of couples work that we do, and here’s why.
First of all, when people are seeking out premarital counseling, it’s usually assumed that they don’t have a significantly pressing issues with regard to conflict, affair, or communication. People often seek premarital counseling because, well, they’re getting married. With that said, it frequently does happen that people come in for premarital counseling and end up doing a little bit more than just to premarital work.
Premarital counseling is usually done with a variety of assessments and a pretty structured format. You and your beloved would complete some assessments and then you would go through said assessments with your counselor to see where the two of you differ and overlap. The assessments aren’t designed to be a measure of your relationship health, and they are not designed to predict weather your relationship will succeed or fail (we offer Gottman therapy for that!). The purpose of the premarital assessments are, quite literally, to see where you overlap and differ with your partner on a variety of topics, including but not limited to finances, sex, communication styles, personality traits, kids, and a host more.
It is important that you have some understanding and conversation about these topics with your partner prior to getting married. We see plenty of people for couples counseling down the road who didn’t get clear with one another on basic differences about really important things. The things aren’t important because of anything inherent about the topic - the things are important because they show up so consistently in relationships that we need to make sure that we at least understand where our partner is coming from. So while we would say that talking about these topics doesn’t reduce you’re potential for future problems, it does allow you both to learn how to discuss things you’ll agree and disagree on (the latter being way more important). In other words, it can help you learn to argue effectively with your partner. Ha! Sounds funny, but we’re being serious.
I would also throw in that we are probably a fantastic fit for premarital counseling because not only do we assess those different topic areas, but we are especially skilled at helping people learn how to communicate in ways that are healthy and effective and increase people’s understanding of their partner, as well as increase respect and compassion for their partner. Doing these things from the outset will absolutely set you up for success down the road.
Another bonus to our premarital work is that it’s for both secular and religious counselors. Lots of folks will go through their church (if their religious), which we completely understand, but there are a subset of people who aren’t very religious, but also want premarital counseling. You are for sure in the right place, if that’s you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tara Vossenkemper | Couples Counseling in Columbia, Mo
Tara Vossenkemper is the founder, owner, and therapist with The Counseling Hub, and a counselor (LPC) in the state of Missouri. She specializes in couples counseling using the highly effective Gottman Method Couples Therapy (and is currently obtaining her certification, which requires three levels of training and ongoing consultation - it's a necessarily rigorous process that she loves).
Tara has a diverse set of clinical experiences, working with both adolescents and adults on issues ranging from eating disorders and anxiety to spirituality and existential crises. However, she is most passionate about couples counseling. Tara enjoys working with couples looking to decrease or enhance conflict, relearn healthy and effective communication, or are healing from an affair. She's also been formally trained as in the Prepare-Enrich Premarital Couples Counseling approach and the PREP Approach for couples counseling.
Tara is also earning her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri - Saint Louis. She's "ABD" (all but dissertation) and furiously researching and writing to finish things up. She's presented at national, regional, and state conferences, as well as locally, on the topics of discrimination, sexual minority distress, spirituality, healthy lifestyle and mental health, and private practice.