Therapists have different philosophies. Some therapists see relationship work as generally being intended to preserve a relationship, unless there is very serious, prolonged abuse or infidelity. Other therapists believe that dissolving relationships is often best, and are more apt to allow the therapy process to unfold naturally without a predetermined goal of “saving” the relationship. Healthy relationships are mostly full of joy and peace. Ending one that is not might be the healthy choice, even if it is difficult.

Despite these different approaches, therapists as a rule respect client self-determination. Most relationship counselors will neither recommend preserving nor dissolving a relationship; instead, they will help each partner communicate more clearly their needs, thoughts, and emotions, and listen more carefully to the other partner, and they will help the couple as a couple, by supporting the goals the couple agrees to—whether the goal is to “stay together forever,” “stop fighting”, “make the transition to being friends”, or just “learn more about each other and ourselves.”

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