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Clarity Counseling Seattle

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Pre-Marital & Pre-Commitment Therapy

How can we help you?

Choosing who to work with in therapy is a big decision and of course you have questions! This is a good thing – questions mean that you are invested in the process. We've collected some commonly asked questions here for you to look through. If you find that you have other questions or you need more information, just give our counseling office a call and we'll talk through any of your questions or concerns.

Pre-Marital & Pre-Commitment Therapy

A common question we’re asked is if our premarital or precommittment therapy is a set program that lasts a certain amount of sessions. Though we all do premarital or precommittment therapy a little differently, as would most therapists, we don't require that you are on any kind of program. From the moment you arrive to your first session, we work help you to understand the components of your relationship that need your attention, and then how to skillfully and effectively improve those areas. How long that takes can certainly vary, but we find that most premarital couples stay with us for at least 10 sessions.

We use the Gottman Relationship Checkup, which takes about an hour to complete at home, to be able to quickly get to the areas of your relationship that need attention. We teach you skills, provide helpful information, and support you in having necessary conversations that will pave the way for the two of you to work as team with whatever your marriage or commitment will challenge you with.

Selfishly we all love to work with premarital or precommittment couples! It’s just so neat to be able to help couples to avoid the common pitfalls of long-term relationships that would creep up if the couple didn’t take these preventative steps. All relationship skills can be learned, and really you can never start too soon in gaining some knowledge and establishing healthy couple habits that will allow for a stable and rewarding lifelong union.

Premarital counseling exists to help couples better prepare for marriage while they are still dating or engaged. 

At Clarity Counseling Seattle, we love working with couples in our premarital counseling sessions because we know the difference that a solid foundation built before marriage can make to a couple during their marriage. 

Premarital counseling in Seattle gives you and your partner a chance to discuss some of the “big ticket” topics in a safe, private environment before beginning your marriage. According to the Mayo Clinic, common areas of discussion include:

  • Goals for your marriage
  • Perceptions of how politics, religion, and belief systems will impact your relationship
  • Finances, debt, and career aspirations 
  • Attitudes toward sex, intimacy, and affection
  • Your individual families and your hopes for your new family
  • Feelings about gender roles and sharing household chores and responsibilities 

Premarital counseling sessions help you learn healthier communication and anger management skills and practice resolving conflicts in a way that benefits both partners.

At Clarity Counseling Seattle, our licensed therapists and marriage counselors know how to help couples strengthen their bonds early on and prevent problems from escalating once those couples enter into a marriage. Partners who participate in premarital counseling typically have a better understanding of what the other person wants and expects from them going into their commitment than partners who don’t.

- Take some time after each session to review what was said and to really think about how to incorporate your therapy experience into your day-to-day life outside the therapy office.

- The most important work of therapy takes place in between sessions when the therapeutic hour is utilized outside of the therapist's office, so be sure to follow up on any tasks that were established in session.

- Be as honest with your therapist as you are willing, as he or she can't help you if you withhold important information.

- Trust that when moments in therapy are difficult, or the therapeutic work you do outside of the therapy session is difficult, that this is growth and positive change.

Woman sitting on yoga mat | Seattle WA CounselingThere are a couple of common reasons why the process of therapy can be ineffective or, at a minimum, disappointing. For some, they may not have been truly ready to perform the necessary work of facing up to and working on the real issues at play in their situation, and this resistance stunted the process of creating lasting change.

It is not uncommon for people, though well-intentioned, to seek therapy in hopes of changing those around them rather than working on themselves. Thankfully, it is usually the case that when we change ourselves, those around us change as well. 

Importance of Relationship Between Therapist and Client

For others, the pairing of client and therapist may simply not have been the right match. Though many therapists differ in their specific therapeutic approach, research shows that the single best determinant of success in therapy is the quality of the working relationship between therapist and client. *This applies to both individual and couples therapy.

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