Is couples counseling right for you?
Is it time to hire a relationship referee? Do you need the “Rosetta Stone” on your significant other? Are you skeptical about having a 3rd party consult on your relationship? Many people ask themselves similar questions when they start to experience frequent problems in their romantic relationships. The truth is, couples counseling has been helpful for many people, and less effective for others, for several reasons.
First, it’s important to take into consideration that couple’s counseling involves a relationship between 3 people: the therapist, and the couple. Therefore, it is not the therapist’s job to “fix” the couple, simply to consult and provide guidance. Furthermore, the therapist can help the motivated couple begin to explore their problems from a new perspective, teach them how to change their argument style, discuss alternative ways to improve communication, provide a “neutral territory” for the couple to work through their tough issues, or help couples put aside “baggage” that has kept them from moving toward a healthier future.
Second, the sooner you begin couples counseling, the greater the likelihood for repairing the relationship. Sometimes, people begin the counseling process when the damage has been done or is too extensive to repair. Try to go while there’s still some relationship “glue” there.
Third, it is important to increase commitment from both people within the couple. It is helpful for both people to be on board and open-minded with the counseling process, because at the end of the day, it takes two to tango in a relationship. And, if one person is unwilling to dance, there is less of a chance the couple will succeed. Lastly, it is important to determine a good fit between you and the therapist.
Here are some tips for finding a couple’s therapist:
Do some research. Read into your potential therapist’s background, ask questions about their experience in couples therapy, and inquire about their “style” for working with a couple.
Pay attention to how you feel with the therapist. Couples therapy is not a blame game. The therapist is not there to side with one person over the other.
Keep an open mind. Often times, people find they hit it off with the first therapist they find, but sometimes, others find that it takes a couple of meetings to get more comfortable with their therapist, or it may take trying a couple out to find the right one.