Trust, in one form or another, is usually a fundamental issue when a couple enters marriage counseling or marital therapy. There may be current behaviors which contribute to these concerns or there may be less obvious relational trust issues which may exist below the surface and are largely unconscious but profoundly affects the level of relational trust. Both levels of mistrust need to be addressed in marriage counseling or couple therapy with a mental health professional.
There are marriages which may require individual psychotherapy for one or both spouses. If there is evidence of substance abuse, addiction, betrayal, or any behavior which could represent a marital rupture, I customarily refer to a colleague as it is, in my professional opinion, too complex a therapeutic task to work effectively with individuals while working with the marriage/couple unit. For couple therapy to be successful, the dyad must be treated as a separate entity. This does not by any means negate the importance of the two individuals. In fact, the exploration and enhanced awareness of the individual through personal psychotherapy will only improve the overall functioning of a fundamentally healthy relationship.
Couple and marital therapy can provide a qualitative positive change in the nature and experience of each person in the marriage. Although discord in the relationship initially brings a couple into therapy, the opportunities exist to improve the overall functioning of the marital unit.