Marital and Family Issues

Marital and Family Issues

With today’s hectic pace, couples and families often experience high levels of stress. As a result, tension and conflict cause difficulty in communication. Solutions that previously worked may not seem to work now. When families experience high levels of stress, children often develop problems in school or behave in inappropriate ways.

The Marital and Family Therapy Program at the Cleveland Clinic is designed for couples and families experiencing chronic or severe stress, ongoing unhappiness, instability or conflict.

Marital conflict

Couples, regardless of their lifestyle, experience a wide range of pressures and challenges - earning a living, dealing with an extended family, raising children, as well as dealing with loss and change. The impact of these issues on a relationship can be overwhelming and difficult to manage without help. If you and your partner are experiencing any of the following problems or situations, professional help would be beneficial:

  • High levels of conflict or tension
  • Difficulty in making decisions both partners can support
  • Mixed feelings about continuing in the relationship
  • Loss of employment
  • Financial problems and difficulty agreeing about finances
  • Dealing with the problems a child may be having
  • Sexual dissatisfaction
  • An extra-marital affair
  • Depression or other emotional problems of one or both partners
  • Problems with the extended family
  • A pending divorce or separation
  • The need to plan for shared custody of children

Family problems

Family problems can cause significant difficulties at work, in school and in relationships with others. When the level of stress becomes unmanageable, families may need help finding more creative ways to meet daily challenges or cope with crises. If your family is experiencing any of the following problems or situations, professional help would be beneficial:

  • A child’s problems in school
  • Difficulty setting limits for children
  • Caring for a child with special needs
  • Siblings whose difficulty getting along disturbs the family’s functioning
  • The illness of a family member
  • Supporting elderly family members
  • The death of a family member or loved one
  • Addiction of a family member
  • Divorce or separation

How we can help

The Marital and Family Therapy Program at the Cleveland Clinic helps families and couples meet daily challenges and cope with problems through assessment, individual and family therapy, education and support. Our approach is problem-oriented and emphasizes solutions, not blame. We help couples and families develop practical methods of dealing with each other so they can function in new ways.

Solving marital or family problems doesn’t have to take years. Our problem-oriented approach usually produces results in 6 to 12 weeks (the average length of treatment is 10 weeks).


Treatment begins with an in-depth assessment. Information is gathered from each member of the couple or family - therapists ask questions to discover how the family member views the problem, when the problem started and how the problem has been handled to date. Family background, medical history and other important information about each individual will also be discussed.


As part of the assessment, the therapist suggests a treatment approach. Together, the therapist and couple or family develop new ways of communicating and solving problems. Our approach can help couples and families return to satisfactory levels of functioning.

How to Contact the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology

We see patients who refer themselves or are referred by a family member or friend, by their family physician, a community agency or other Cleveland Clinic personnel. To make an appointment or referral, please call 216.636.5860.