Couples Counselling – Your Questions Answered
Have you been feeling unhappy in your relationship? At what point do you decide that getting couples counselling is necessary and once you have made this decision, what happens next? Here are all your questions answered…
When Should I Seek Counselling?
The idea of letting someone else enter the private space of your secret world for two can be downright scary. But research shows that if you reach out for help without waiting too long, you can expect positive results. The key is to not waiting until things get so bad that you can’t stand the sight of one another. Although there are no guarantees, successful couples counselling is influenced by the circumstances that led to the therapy in the first place, along with the quality of the therapeutic relationship. In other words, how well you work together with the marriage counsellor.
How Do I Find The Right Marriage Therapist?
Finding the right marriage therapist or counsellor to work with you both is absolutely vital. Many, many psychologists claim to offer couples counselling; however, very few are actually trained to provide this service. And let me tell you something, it is very different from individual counselling! Wondering why? In the marriage counsellors room you will have two individuals (sometimes more!) each with their own backgrounds, hurts, grievances and peculiarities. On top of this, there is the interaction of these individuals together over time. It can get quite complicated, and it takes a very skilled therapist to ensure that it remains a safe and helpful therapeutic space.
Do your research! Thanks to google, life has become a whole lot easier. As the Telstra yellow pages suggest – let your fingers do the walking. So much information is available on the World Wide Web these days – so browse profiles, explore qualifications, and why not even request free initial conversations with your top 3? Any great relationship counsellor will offer these discussions to anyone seriously considering therapy and shopping for the right therapist.
What If Only One Partner Will Attend Couples Counselling?
Frequently in my practice, I end up seeing one half of the couple because both parties are not feeling ready for counselling at the same time. Ultimately the best idea is for both partners to attend couples counselling. However, if your partner is not interested or ready for this step, then go alone.
Despite all the sayings about how many it takes to tango (two right?) one person CAN change a relationship. Even on your own, you can learn how to break unhelpful patterns of communicating. With a skilled marriage therapist by your side, you can gain insight into how you’ve been reacting to one another. From this understanding, you can develop new and more positive ways of moving forward from old problems.
What happens during couples counselling?
What can we expect in the first session? It’s quite likely that your marriage therapist will firstly ask you about the history of your relationship. During this initial appointment, they will also try to understand the circumstances that bring you to seek help. Remember to be respectful towards your partner and also be as open as you can so that the therapist understands what’s important to you both.
As sessions progress, you will gain a clear idea about what your partner is asking for in the relationship. You will also become clearer about what you need to be happy and how to ask for it. Within sessions, you will gain clarity, learn new strategies and receive take-home exercises to ‘try out’.
Be Willing to Put the Effort In
Do your homework. I know this sounds a bit boring, right? But seriously, if you are committed to working on your relationship, you will need to consider doing some of our session work with your other half. You can’t expect that talking to a therapist for one hour every fortnight is going to save your marriage. BUT, you can expect positive results if you are willing to be open, involved and give it your best shot. We certainly live in a throw-away society, but without a doubt, it’s the people in our lives that make it meaningful.
If you think your marriage may be in trouble – seek help as soon as possible. Communication really is the key to success and the longer you wait, the harder it will be to get your relationship back on track. If you feel you need support, contact our team at PMW here. We can work with you to navigate relationship issues and enhance your happiness.