4 Ways to get most out of couples counseling

Most couples are not sure what to expect from counseling. They often think they will each describe their distress in hopes that the therapist will help them repair the problem and create a better relationship. Many people think their partner needs the most help!

It actually doesn’t work that way.  Here are 4 ways to get the most out of couples counseling:

1)    Check your motivation for couples counseling.  The motivation you bring to the counseling process is critical to your achieving what you most want.  What is urging or inspiring you to take action right now?  For some it is the fear of losing hope and the relationship.  For others it’s the vision of the kind of relationship they most want?  Be clear about what the kind of relationship you and your partner want to develop and your willingness to do what is necessary to achieve it.

2)    Be clear about what you want to achieve.  I will be active in this process and, after listening and understanding your relational interaction, I will offer principles and skills to help you solve the problem.  My role is to help you achieve your goals for therapy.  Your job is to identify and clarify your own objectives for being in therapy.  I can offer many tools to help you, but they work best if you are clear about what you want.

3)    Focus on changing yourself rather than your partner. One of the hardest things about couples counseling is accepting the reality that you will need to improve your response to a problem. It’s common for each partner to think the other needs to improve more.  But the more you believe your partner needs to change the less effort you will put into changing the patterns between the two of you.  The real change only begins when we have stopped being part of the problem.

4)    Be ready to apply the things you learn in your relationship.  I will work on helping you increase your understanding of yourself, your partner and your patterns of interaction. While this understanding is important, the counseling process will only be effective as you apply what you learn to your relationship.

Can couples counseling help you?  There is no guarantee, but it most likely can’t hurt.  Developing a healthy and deepening relationship is not just about fixing what’s wrong, but it’s a start.  Give me a call if you like to begin.