Knowledge Base

Mediation and Marriage
Counseling - The Perfect Couple


March 2004
Written by CMDR Staff

Mediation and Marriage Counseling—The Perfect Couple

Frequently people call our office and ask, “What is the difference between marriage counseling and mediation?” While therapy helps work through the anger, hurt and resentment surrounding an unhappy marriage, mediation takes a more direct problem-solution approach. Therapy and mediation complement each other. In simplest terms, therapy leads to understanding emotional problems that stem from the past, and mediation teaches pragmatic strategies to deal with the present and the future. Many therapists urge couples to try mediation to problem solve issues that are becoming roadblocks in their therapy. It is not surprising that the most common roadblock is money.

A Case in Point
Jessica and Marc have been married for twelve years. They have two young children and Jessica stayed home to care for them. Marc worked long hours and became resentful of what seemed to be Jessica’s stress-free lifestyle. Although Jessica enjoyed being with her kids, she had them enrolled in a lot of extra curricular activities. She also spent money on toys and clothes. Jessica’s spending and Marc’s long hours away from home became problematic. They decided to go to a marriage counselor for help.

The therapist helped them to understand the emotions surrounding the issues, but Jessica didn’t think she was overspending. Marc, who was paying the bills, was extremely angry. The couple could not move past their financial problems. The therapist did not have the skill set or the desire to become a financial planner. She wanted Jessica and Marc to learn how to work through their finances together. And, she knew that at the Centre for Mediation & Dispute Resolution (CMDR), mediators had an extensive knowledge base in financial matters. Once Jessica’s fears about budgeting and savings were replaced with the confidence of knowing how to budget and save, she became Marc’s ally rather than his adversary.

At the Centre for Mediation & Dispute Resolution, our strength lies in empowering our clients through education and involvement. Our mediators teach strategies to employ for the present and the future. The non-adversarial nature of mediation is especially appropriate for couples who are already participating in marriage counseling. Whether a couple is dissolving their marriage or trying to stay together, mediation offers a unique, cost-effective and less stressful approach to resolution.


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