Relationship Counselling, which is also called couples therapy, has become a very popular form of therapy among couples. It is a kind of psychotherapy that focuses on helping people improve their relationships.
Relationship Counselling can be helpful at any stage of your relationship. It could come off as a rescue for your relationship as it strengthens communication and connections between partners. Working with a therapist could help you explore your relationship, work on interactions, and resolve conflicts. Going for in-person or online couples therapy could be the best thing you could do for your relationship. Let’s look at how effective couples counseling is, shall we?
What Does A Relationship Counselor Do?
A relationship counselor helps you navigate your feelings and look out for the problems that are arising in the relationship. For instance, the popularly known Gottman Method is a type of relationship therapy that is commonly used in helping couples work on their relationship issues. The Gottman Method (from Maslow’s psychology theory) sees relationships as a hierarchy of needs and helps couples work towards better emotional closeness. Other couples’ therapy approaches focus on childhood traumas and how they affect today’s relationships in couples (psychoanalytic relationship theory).
Also, a relationship counselor focuses on improving the relationship between the couple by addressing the issues revolving around communication and conflict. Couples Therapy has its own ideologies and school of thought as to how to improve romantic relationships and how to minimize the struggles between the couple.
Search for therapists which are specialized in couples therapy
Not all counselors are trained to do couples therapy. The ones that specialize in couples therapy would be recommended here.
Book a session with potential therapists
It may be difficult for you to find the right fit for you and your partner. Before jumping to the conclusion that therapy isn’t working for you, take a deep breath and book another session with a therapist. Ask questions such as
Are you trained in couples therapy?
What’s your take on divorce?
Have you worked with couples with similar issues before?
Stick with therapy
If you’ve met the above requirements, stick to therapy. It doesn’t work in a day, it requires time and effort. Research shows that couples who stick with therapy show long-term improvements.
What To Expect From Relationship Counselling
The first few sessions will be devoted to discussing your background and the issues you’re there to resolve. Be ready to discuss your relationship, your parents, your childhood, and previous relationships when asked about them. Your therapist may want to speak with each family member both individually and in group sessions for a while.
Your therapist’s counseling style and systematic approach will determine how your therapy progresses. Emotionally focused relationship therapy has got the most attention. The goal of EFT, which is based on attachment theory, is to promote healthy interdependence between partners or family members.
How To Make Relationship Therapy Effective
Therapy is a two-way process. It doesn’t only work because of the skills and expertise of the counselor but also of the willingness of the couple and how much they initiate to work on themselves. There are certain things you can do to make therapy most effective for you and your partner.
Sounds cliche, no? But do not lie to your therapist. Your therapist’s job is not to judge you but rather to work with you. Staying honest about everything may be hard but let’s try.
Prepare Yourself for the Discomfort
Yes, you read it right. Therapy may cause discomfort as the journey of discovering new truths about yourself may not always be all rainbows. Working on yourself requires actually putting in the work, sitting with your discomfort and working on improving those areas. Your therapist’s goal ultimately is to help you while you and your partner do the work.
Put in the time
Putting in the time and effort is as crucial as starting the therapy. Your therapist may give you the homework or ask you to inculcate certain techniques to improve interactions between the two of you. Therapy is a process, and it might take more time and effort than you thought. But, keep in mind, it is worth it. Yes, it is, and it’ll change your life for the better.
In the end, don’t expect your therapist to be a wizard who will solve all your issues in a single session. Consulting early, working on yourself, discovering new truths, and being honest are a few things that can help you in this process.
When To Seek Relationship Counselling?
It may be hard to recognize if you need relationship counselling, but if you feel a lack of inclination towards each other, or you talk less, it’s time you see a counsellor. The relationship needs actual communication, and if it’s lacking between the partners, there’s something to be looked at. There’s also one more thing to look at. If you’re acting passive aggressive toward each other, Passive aggression isn’t something that most therapists would consider healthy. If you’re not able to talk to your partner about what’s setting you off, it’s a barrier in your relationship and could be a sign to see a counselor. Lastly, if you’ve started to think of leaving as an option, it 100% means that your relationship is in trouble. In this case, looking for a professional therapist for this is very much recommended.
How Do I Spot A Good Relationship Counselor?
There are certain signs to look out for if you’re looking for a counselor, such as
They’re trying to listen to you and your partner without any bias
You both feel validated
They want what’s best for you and your relationship
They check in with both of you from time to time
If they’re unsure about something, they take the time to educate themselves on it
You both see them as an ally
They’ve earned both of your trust
They’re good at communicating
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