That is not an easy question to answer. Although a great deal of my practice centers around family law, primarily divorce and related financial and personal issues, I don’t like to see people get divorced and don’t encourage them to do so. So my first instinct is to say “Yes, attend couples counseling.” If you don’t want to be divorced or aren’t sure about whether you should be divorced, counseling can help clarify that decision for you. That doesn’t mean that if you participate in couples counseling then you won’t get divorced. That is one possible outcome, but it is possible that participating in counseling could help you and/or your spouse decide more definitely that divorce is the right decision for you and your family.
Even if you experience divorce after engaging in couples counseling, you may go into the divorce process with a better understanding of how and why your marriage ended. Maybe you will gain some insight that could help you in future relationships. Maybe you and your spouse will agree that even if you’re going to be divorced, you want to consciously keep your children’s best interests foremost in your minds throughout the process. You may be able to discuss how you want to proceed through the divorce process (see my blog post about the first decision to make in divorce).
If you are not facing the possibility of divorce, but are having some relationship problems, then it may be best to participate in counseling earlier rather than later. In my experience helping clients through the divorce process, I have found that many couples wait until they are actually discussing the possibility of divorce before starting couples counseling. Not having performed a scientific study, I can only guess from my observations that counseling at that stage in their relationship was often too little, too late.
Ultimately, you and your spouse must decide whether to attend couples counseling and live with that decision. There are many qualified, experienced marriage and family therapists in central Pennsylvania, including Harrisburg, Carlisle, Hershey and surrounding communities. You can get specific recommendations from your family doctor, friends, family, coworkers, etc. If you would like to discuss couples counseling or any other divorce or family law issue, please contact me.