By Keith Miller

For many couples, there’s no substitute for the dedicated attention of a qualified couples therapist to breathe life into your relationship and love life. For others, an intensive weekend retreat, relationship coach, self-help educational product, or online program can be very effective.

You may want to consider alternatives to couples therapy, or some combination of both, if your situation warrants it.

If one of the following applies to you,  an alternative to couples therapy may be for you:

  • You’re preparing for marriage or have no serious concerns about your relationship, but want to stay on a good course together.
  • Your experiences with couples therapy were so bad that you aren’t ready to start the process again.
  • You can’t afford to pay for couples therapy.
  • You want to enhance your couples therapy with complementary educational experiences.

There are vast resources available which are excellent alternatives to couples counseling. Below are a few options:

1. Educational workshops for couples: There are dozens of educational workshops focused on relationships. How do you sort through an overwhelming number of choices to select a reputable workshop and presenter? One time-saving and effective strategy is to search for the three most popular “brands” of couples therapy today and get information about educational workshops based on these approaches in your area.

Related Link: Relationship Advice: 3 Ways to Handle Unmet Expectations in Marriage

2. Relationship coaching: Coaching in the United States is not regulated by state boards of health as psychotherapy is, and it therefore has a reputation for being a less formal method of getting love advice and help for your relationship. One way relationship coaching is distinct from therapy because a coach is like a personal consultant who assumes you and your partner are generally healthy and capable of making changes if given guidance and information.

Related Link: Cameron Diaz: Is Sex the Answer to Relationships and Love?

3. Online self-help for relationships: Proceed wisely. When you turn to the web for advice about your relationship and love life, know that your search results may vary. To assist you in weeding out the far-out from the outstanding, three great websites are www.SmartMarriages.com, www.talkaboutmarriage.com, and www.familydynamics.net.

Keith Miller, LICSW, is the director of a large DC psychotherapy private practice and the author of Love Under Repair: How to Save Your Marriage and Survive Couples Therapy.