A couple and their therapist praying during religious couple's therapy.

What to Expect from Religious Couple's Therapy

The basic difference between religious and secular couple’s therapy is the fundamental religiosity of the therapeutic program. Depending on the religion, religious couple’s therapy adds the tenets of faith, as well as religious dogma. In some religious therapy, tradition may also be part of therapeutic programming. Secular couple’s therapy is based mainly on psychological and, in some cases, scientific programming and the inclusion of religious beliefs is most often omitted.

Religious Therapy for Couples

Religious couples typically choose religious therapy as a means of restoring their original marital harmony. In this type of therapy, religious beliefs and practices are used to reinforce the marriage and couples are taught how to use their values to keep the relationship going. Religious therapies are offered for those contemplating the state of marriage. In the Catholic religion, for example, premarital counseling is mandatory before a marriage ceremony is performed. Many Catholic couples benefit from CANA conferences offered by their local parish and sponsored by a local Catholic couple and a priest adviser. Premarital counseling as a religious therapy for couples often helps them avoid the usual difficulties and adjustments in the first years of marriage by teaching couples to rely on their religious upbringing to hurdle problems.

Requirements for Religious Therapy for Couples

In most cases, the requirement for religious therapy for couples is a willingness to work closely toward a harmonious reconciliation of their marital difficulties. Obviously, the couple should be a part of the religion they are seeking guidance from. There are many religious therapies that also address mixed religion marital problems. This is especially helpful when the two have been raised in different religions.

Topics Discussed in Religious Therapy

Topics discussed in religious therapy include resolving and reducing acrimony, obligations, and commitments to marriage vows and renewal of marriage vows. If more serious issues such as alcoholism, drug addiction, physical or mental abuse, or adultery exist, the religious marriage counselor includes counseling and suggested therapies for these issues. It's important to understand that religious therapy under a religious counselor relies on the scope of religious commitment to restore balance between couples. Specific therapeutic programs depend on the nature of marital problems and the potential for reconciliation.

How Do You Know When Religious Therapy Is Needed?

Couples whose relationships disintegrated rapidly and who have been actively practicing their faith should hasten to religious therapy. In some of these programs, the couple may role play the actions and communications they experience with each other. In some cases, the couple may first have separate counseling to assess their view of marriage and their mate. The counselor may suggest tests that use words to highlight troubled areas of communication or actions. Once separate counseling is complete, the religious counselor may then use various religious practices to address the couple's marital problems. The scope of religious therapy always remains religion-based so the couple can grow closer through their faith.

Last Updated: August 19, 2014