I am frequently asked if I will do marriage counseling with only one spouse present. Sometimes it's because the other spouse isn't willing to attend. Other times one spouse needs to share things first in order to be able to share in a healthy way in front of their spouse. While the actual nature of the therapy is individual because I'm only meeting with one spouse, the goal and focus of the counseling is marital. We are working towards a healthier marriage, a more fulfilled marriage. I share with my clients that at my core I am a marriage therapist; I will help them fight for the marriage. Only in rare circumstances will I advocate for separation or divorce. We work to evaluate the present spouse's communication, expectations, desires, etc and find ways to grow in health and effectiveness in each of those areas. As the spouse who is present for therapy begins to change their style of relating and communicating, often their spouse begins to change as well! Sometimes this opens the door for true marriage counseling where both spouses are present. Other times it doesn't. But when one spouse starts truly changing, the other typically follows suit. If you are struggling in your marriage or desire things to be healthier, I encourage you to seek counseling even if your spouse isn't ready or willing yet. You're in a relationship; two parties are involved. If one part of the system changes, it impacts the whole system and that other party just might start changing also!