How Does Couples Counseling Work Exactly?

Are you happy with the relationship between you and your partner? 

Do you have any worries or anything that you would like to improve? 

Studies show that couples counseling restores 75% of relationships

It is an incredible way for you and your partner to understand any problems. You can work together to overcome them. It can be the perfect way to repair and strengthen your relationship.  

Keep reading to find out more about couples counseling, and why it might be the right thing for you. 

What Is Couples Counseling? 

There are challenges in any relationship. Sometimes these challenges can feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t have the tools to deal with them. 

Couples counseling is a type of psychotherapy. A counselor works with you and your partner to better understand your relationship and overcome problems. They give you both the tools and skills for a healthier partnership. These might include effective communication techniques and conflict resolution skills.

The counselor will work on the relationship itself, and specific problems between you and your partner. Couples counseling is focused on solutions and change. Your counselor will establish clear objectives that you will work towards. 

Couples counseling can be very effective. According to the American Association of Marriage and Family, more than 97% of couples said that counseling gave them the help that they needed. 93% said that couples therapy gave them tools to better deal with conflict, and more than 80% said it had had a positive impact. 

Couples counseling will only be effective and successful if both you and your partner are willing to work. With the guidance of a counselor, both partners work through your issues together. This will help you to build a stronger foundation for your relationship to grow from. 

Who Should Consider Couples Counseling? 

You and your partner don’t have to be married to go to couples counseling. It can be hugely beneficial for many relationships

Counseling can help to resolve a current, short-term problem. It can also help to prevent the increase of any existing problems. Counseling can provide a space for content couples to safely and comfortably address any stress and maintain their healthy relationship. 

Couples counseling can also help to salvage a marriage that is struggling or in crisis. It can help couples to understand that divorce is not the only option. 

If you are considering divorce but have any desire to stay with your spouse, or any doubts, then couples counseling would be hugely helpful. Couples counseling does have the potential to restore a marriage. It could be what you need to reconnect, heal wounds, and move forward together. 

Couples begin counseling for many reasons, Common areas of concern include: 

  • Emotional distance
  • Frequent conflict
  • Finances
  • Intimacy
  • Infidelity 
  • Parenting
  • Infertility 
  • Family tension
  • Illness
  • Gambling
  • Substance abuse

If you want the time and space to improve or strengthen your relationship, then couples counseling could be the right thing for you. 

What to Expect From Couples Counseling 

Each couples’ experience of counseling is different. However, there are some general things that you can expect during your sessions.

Get to Know Each Other

The first couple of sessions are likely to focus on the basic relationship information. This is an opportunity for your counselor to get to know both of you, and for you to learn more about your counselor and their approach. 

Your counselor will likely ask standard questions about the two of you, and the history of your relationship. This will allow your counselor to learn about your values and beliefs, and how best they can help you to strengthen your relationship. 

If the relationship between yourself and your partner is in crisis, your counselor may make early intervention in the first couple of sessions. This depends on the two of you, your situation, and your counselor’s technique. 

Get to the Root of Your Problems

There are many different reasons for people to try couples counseling. You, your partner, and your counselor must understand why you are there. 

Your counselor will help you and your partner identify and focus on the issue(s) that treatment will focus on. It may be that you discover problems or issues that you weren’t even aware of.

From there, you will work with your counselor to agree on the goals, structure, and timeline for treatment. It’s important to remember that these goals may change and evolve throughout your counseling.  

Gain Insight Into Yourself and Your Relationship

By now, your counselor will have been able to observe and understand the dynamics between you and your partner that are maintaining or exacerbating your problems. 

They will be able to help both of you to understand your role and responsibility in the relationship. This can be a challenging part of couples counseling but allows you to explore and better understand yourself and your partner. It can help you both to change the way you view each other, and your relationship. 

Changing Behaviors

Couples counseling is also proactive, and solution, and action-oriented. Your counselor will give you tools to improve the relationship. They will also remind you of the skills you already have, and how best to use them. 

These tools and skill can include: 

  • Communication 
  • Patience 
  • Forgiveness
  • Trust 
  • Honesty 
  • Selflessness
  • Stress-management 

You will both be encouraged to use these skills and tools outside of the counseling sessions. Your counselor may assign tasks so that you can apply these to daily life. This will help you and your partner improve how you interact and connect.

Examples of tasks that your counselor sets may be: 

  • Going on a date 
  • Increasing intimacy 
  • Keeping a log of your emotions and arguments 
  • Reading a self-help book together and discuss

Improve Your Relationship

Most couples who go to counseling can better understand patterns in their relationship, as well as their own behavior. They can express their thoughts and emotions more clearly, and they can problem-solve with their partner. 

How to Prepare for Couples Counseling

If you think couples counseling is for you, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of success before you begin.  

Take Time to Reflect 

Before your first couples counseling session, take time to prepare yourself. It can be a challenging and confronting experience. 

Think about why you are going. What do you want to achieve? What direction do you want your relationship to move in?  

You need to be ready to communicate openly and honestly. This can be scary for some people, as you make yourself vulnerable. 

If there are issues and challenges in your relationship, you also need to be ready to accept your responsibility for the current situation. Prepare yourself for doing the personal work to strengthen your relationship and move forward with your partner. 

Be ready to do the personal work to make counseling successful 

Set Boundaries With Loved Ones

Your loved ones can be a source of huge strength and support. They can encourage and advise you in all aspects of your life, and their thoughts and actions come from a place of caring.   

However, your loved ones must respect and honor your decision to begin couples counseling with your partner. They shouldn’t undermine the work that you are doing. 

Ask friends to refrain from telling you to leave your partner, or that your relationship is not worth salvaging. Instead, ask them to support your decision to try to better understand and improve your relationship.  

Find a Counselor You’re Both Comfortable With

Your relationship with your counselor is a very important one. Couples counseling is a collaboration between the personality and beliefs of you, your partner, and your counselor.  

You and your partner should find a counselor that you’re both comfortable with. They should be someone that you feel able to talk to freely, and that you trust to help you improve your relationship.  

If you or your partner does not feel conformable, then you should be ready to find someone else to work with. 

Start Early 

Be proactive, and seek help when your issues begin. Otherwise, issues and problems may fester. This can lead to resentment growing between you and your partner, leading to irreparable damage in your relationship. 

Instead, act quickly and act to overcome challenges. This will help to strengthen your relationship. 

Take the Next Step Now

Couples counseling can be hugely beneficial for relationships at any stage. It is an opportunity for you to work with a counselor to better understand yourself, your partner, and your relationship. It can help to resolve problems, overcome challenges, and strengthen your relationship.  

Want to know more? Call us now to find out how couples counseling could help you and your partner. 

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