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Therapeutic Separation: An Overview

Therapeutic separation is a process that involves the separation of a couple for the purpose of strengthening their marriage. While the idea may seem counterintuitive, it's gaining traction in the world of marriage counseling and may be just what you need to make your marriage stronger than ever. 

The Purpose of Therapeutic Separation

Marriage can be difficult and some days it may seem easier to call it quits than to continue on. For those stuck between two unthinkable options, sticking it out or calling it quits, therapeutic separation can offer a reprieve.

Therapeutic separation is a process done under the guidance of a marriage counselor. The process involves a physical separation between the couple – preferably, one moving out while the other stays in the family home – while the couple undergoes intense marriage counseling. The process can be lengthy and emotionally difficult but for many couples, the separation can be rewarding and lead to a happier, healthier marriage.

Understanding the Mindset

Separation for the goal of sticking it out seems silly, but a number of marriage counselors agree that temporary separation can strengthen a relationship. If you're considering this option, however, it's vital that you understand the mindset behind it.

For those considering the process, it's important to understand that while divorce may be the final outcome, it isn't the initial goal. Therapeutic separation usually involves intense therapy sessions between the couple and a marriage counselor, regular communication, and a willingness for change. The process is usually entered with specific guidelines and goals in place which makes the process structured.  

Getting the Most Out of the Experience

Prior to the separation, your counselor will ensure that both of you are on the same page in terms of expectations and goals. That is one of the most important parts of the process, but there are more things that can be done to get the most out of the experience.

During the separation, strong communication is key. If you aren't used to voicing your opinions to your partner, now will be the time to start. If your communication styles are different, this period will allow you both the chance to get on the same wavelength and practice more intentional communication. It's also important that during this time both of you are honest, both during private interactions and with the therapist, and that commitment to each other stays at the forefront of the entire process.

To learn more about the process or if a therapeutic separation seems like something both you and your spouse would like to try, begin working with a marriage counselor who has experience in implementing it.