Taking the step to work on your relationship and enter couples counseling can be scary. You may not know what to expect when you enter therapy, and the stakes are high. There are some things to consider that may help you and your significant other get the most out of relationship counseling.
1. If you are considering couple’s therapy, go for it! The sooner a couple enters therapy when difficulties arise, the better. All too often, people wait until they are on the verge of ending the relationship before seeking help. Counseling can still be effective in these circumstances, but why wait for things to get to this point? It can be empowering to take charge of your issues instead of allowing them to drive you and your loved one apart.
2. Motivation is one of the most important factors in determining the effectiveness of your therapy. Entering counseling only to appease your significant other does not work. If your current motivation to work on the relationship is low, give it a boost before entering therapy, or during the early stages of counseling. This can be done by making the choice to find something positive your partner brings to the relationship, finding new, relaxed activities to do together, and remembering why you fell in love in the first place. It is a psychological principle that what you focus on expands, so focus on the good things!
3. Don’t think of your problem as “unfixable”. Research shows that it is not the severity of problems that predict a couple’s longevity and relationship satisfaction, it is the way the communicate about their problems that is important. Your therapist will teach you effective communication skills that can help you build trust and reconnect with your loved one.
What if my partner won’t come to couples counseling?
It is not uncommon for people to know they need relationship help, but their significant other does not want therapy. In this case, we can work with the individual in therapy to help them cope with relationship stress and perhaps learns skills they can use to improve interactions with their partner. Sometimes the other person warms up to the idea of therapy, and wishes to start couple’s work. Depending on the couple’s needs, you could start couple’s work with your therapist, or your therapist could refer you to another counselor for couples counseling.