When you choose to attend counseling with your spouse, you are opting for collaborative treatment in an environment that is not judgmental or biased. A counselor oversees the interactions and encourages discussion, helping you see challenges. With so many long-term benefits associated with marriage counseling, it is quickly becoming a popular option for couples.
Marriage counseling emphasizes the role of communication in a relationship, making it possible for almost any couple to benefit. Are you considering counseling? Have you already booked an appointment? If so, this guide will help you prepare for the session in store for you and your spouse.
Understand Why You Want to Attend Counseling
When you enter a counseling session for the first time, have in mind a goal for yourself and your relationship. Do you want to stay together? Are you done with the relationship? What kind of life do you envision having with your spouse in the future?
Often, the real reasons why people seek counseling are not immediately at the surface. Some couples come in with a recent problem or challenge that actually dates back to a different issue in the past. Some problems are simply related to poor communication skills. Thankfully, you can address many of these issues in therapy.
Have Realistic Expectations
Counseling can be a fantastic option for a couple, but it does not make life perfect. Counseling requires dedication in a slow progression. Couples who understand this are much more likely to be successful in therapy.
One common mistake made in marriage counseling is that one or both parties believe that their partner is the sole cause of all problems in the relationship. The truth is that both parties must make changes to see a real difference in the relationship.
Gauge Your Level of Commitment
Next, you must have a solid understanding of what you are willing to commit to the relationship. Everything has a trade-off, so you must come to the table with an understanding that counseling is not always comfortable or efficient.
Counseling requires more than physical energy. You must also be willing to expend mental energy. Counseling is work, and it may come with homework you are not expecting. With that in mind, the challenges could be well worth your time.
Expect to Focus on Your Own Behavior
A common misconception is that one partner can change the other partner's behavior. Unfortunately, this is not true. Commonly, people believe that the other party causes all of the problems.
Changing your behavior may rely on answering tough questions. Not all topics you discuss in therapy are going to be pleasant. In fact, some topics can be quite painful to discuss. Willingness to try is crucial for the health of your relationship.
Additionally, you must be open to changes in your partner. Some of the changes might include learning about painful events in your spouse's life or over the course of your relationship.
Consider Solo Counseling
You can attend solo and marriage counseling in conjunction with each other to create a more fulfilling plan for the future. Many counselors recommend that you attend solo sessions to ensure that you are getting the personal help you might need. The things you learn in your counseling can benefit your relationship counseling as well.
Select a Counselor that Makes You Feel Comfortable
You should always feel comfortable with the counselor you choose, as should your spouse. Many people find that they see several therapists before finding the perfect match, but sometimes it sticks right away.
Your mental health clinic or office should be a facility that you trust as well. Make an appointment today to learn more about your therapeutic options.