Marriage Counseling Clarification and Interpretation

Often a discussion with a counselor helps the client to understand more clearly the difference between his own and his partner's needs and the causes of the marital difficulties. In over half the cases in this series, clarification was a part of the counseling technique.

Interpretation goes further and demands considerable psychotherapeutic skill and additional responsibility on the part of the counselor. In this process the counselor attempts to interpret for the counselee some of the motivations for his own and perhaps even for his partner's actions. This procedure too, is used by the counselors in the majority of the cases in this book.

Development of insight as a part of the process of marriage counseling is one of the aims. Many of the counselors in these case records specifically refer to this factor as a part of their procedure. In other cases this process is implicit in the histories. Through interpretation and sometimes suggestion, an attempt is made to enable the client to achieve a deeper insight into the underlying reasons for his own or his partner's behavior. Marriage counseling attempts to aid the counselee to develop a greater understanding of self without necessarily aiming at a reorganization of the individual's personality. "Insight therapy" which includes intensive use of interpretation may belong to the realm of prolonged therapy, and obviously needs to be used with a great deal of caution in marriage counseling unless the counselor has special training in psychotherapy. A specifically trained and well-equipped marriage counselor, however, may utilize this measure as a part of his therapy in marital disturbances.

Part of the marriage counseling process may be the recommendation of books, pamphlets or articles that may be pertinent to the particular case. Books are sometimes recommended for specific purposes as an adjunct to the counseling and are discussed by the counselor and counselee during subsequent interviews. The counselor may wish to illustrate certain areas of information or discussion by enabling the client to see how someone else describes this. Often the written word is reassuring and carries conviction. Some counselors may hesitate to recommend any specific reference, feeling that this may represent their own bias. Under such conditions, the counselor will refer his clients to a college or public library or suggest they obtain references for reading from their teacher or minister or physician.

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