What are the differences between "marital counseling" and "marital mediation"?
There is a distinct difference between marriage therapy and marital mediation. And yes, couples are often helped by marital mediation when marital counseling has failed to help them.
Marital counseling is performed by a range of professionals, mostly with training and background in mental health areas, such as social work and psychology. It generally involves diagnosis, therapy and treatment of personalities within the marriage and relationship problems. Its purpose is to treat the individuals in the relationship in order to understand the breakdown of the marriage and provide a healthier avenue for both parties to rebuild. By understanding each person’s personality and family baggage, they can help both people understand behaviors that have become disturbing within the marriage and to help alleviate marital conflict.
Marital mediation is different in that it is about dispute resolution. Settling differences is an important part of every marriage, and without the proper skill set, the marriage suffers. It is often the petty, little annoyances in a marriage that take the greatest toll on couples and can lead to divorce. These are easily identified and resolved by mediation techniques.
Marital mediation is also helpful if one partner is resistant to seeing a therapist. Marital mediation is goal and task oriented, time limited and practical. It can be used in conjunction with couples counseling or by itself.