Justin Chapman | The Echo
The counseling center is now offering premarital counseling for three to four couples this semester due to the recent addition of a new intern.
Taylor alumnus Nate Martinez ('17) is completing a masters at Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in marriage and family therapy and is conducting premarital counseling at Taylor. The necessity for Martinez to gain experience in premarital counseling and Taylor's need in this area of counseling lined up well.
"(Premarital counseling) is what I am most passionate about and hope to work with in the future," Martinez said. "I have seen the need for this type of counseling at Taylor and hope to empower these couples to have successful marriages going forward."
Three semesters of internships are required to complete the marriage and family therapy master's program at IWU. This semester is Martinez's first internship and Taylor was his first choice as he knows what the university stands for and represents.
In Martinez's counseling sessions, couples can expect talk about communication styles and conflict resolution. Martinez will specifically dive into a curriculum created by John Gottman called the "Four Horsemen."
Additionally, couples entering into these sessions are offered the chance to meet with Martinez biweekly for around 50 minutes per session.
Caroline Poland, director of the counseling center, knows each individual in a relationship carries distinctive things into a marriage such as differing personalities, communication styles, confrontation styles and lenses through which the world is viewed.
According to Poland, while there are many things each person holds in a relationship, talking about them before marriage is key.
"It's absolutely critical that we have the space to talk through those things with our future spouse before we get married as a means of setting that relationship up for success," Poland said. "Premarital counseling allows couples to slow down and engage in intentional conversation, processing, and skill building that will allow them to flourish as a married couple."
Taylor offers pre-marital counseling every year, but Poland says couples will turn to local pastors or other couples for counsel most times. So instead, the counseling center will more often focus on individuals and their mental health issues during the semester.
Dean of Students Jesse Brown is excited for this type of counseling to be on Taylor's campus as he knows many people need to take advantage of an opportunity like this. Brown said he is in full support of anything Taylor can do to prepare couples for a healthy marriage.
"I hope to see myself continue to mature as a counselor in all facets," Martinez said. "I want to continue growing my personal faith and eventually find how that will play a role in the counseling process."
Overall, Martinez is excited to counsel a new population and expand his knowledge in this area of study.
While the openings are few, the time is now to jump on pre-marital counseling at Taylor.