We all know that marriage and relationships are hard work. It isn’t easy to always have to compromise and the sense of being less than yourself can cause a lot of strain. But, relationships sometimes go beyond just being hard work and a challenge and end up in a situation in which you need to call in a professional.
There are times when just putting in the hard work is not enough to save your relationship. If you don’t have the tools to do it on your own, then there is little hope of salvaging the relationship. This is why so many should look to use couples counseling to understand your partner.
These sessions give you the tools that you need to be able to put in the work that is actually going to see results. Many people are hesitant to try it, but those that do often see very positive results. If you wonder if it is going to be right for you then you need to understand how it works.
In this article, I will go over what to expect from couple’s therapy to prepare you ahead of time.
First session – Relationship reveals
The first time you meet up with a counselor, you will be basically going through a relationship reveal session. This is the time for the therapist to get to know you, your partner and get a basic understanding of what the relationship dynamics are.
They’re going to ask simple questions about your childhood to get an idea of your background. Then, there will be superficial questions about your relationship. It will seem very casual as the questions are about how you two met and what your initial dating life was like.
It may seem disheartening to some to go through this period because it doesn’t seem like anything is actually being done. They want to start working on their relationship right away and get into the meat of the issues.
But, this is a very important part of the process as it allows the therapist to understand your personality and spot where some of the problems might be arising.
To get the most out of the therapy it pays to come in prepared. That isn’t to say that you should have all of your arguments fleshed out and ready to rip into them when you get to the session.
It really means coming in knowing what you want to talk about. This shouldn’t be a continuation of whatever your latest fight was about, but what you feel like needs to be a deeper conversation. After all, the therapist is not a mediator between you two that is there to play judge who is right and who is wrong in every argument.
Make sure that you make a list of the things that you feel when it comes to the relationship. It’s important to zero in on your feelings so you can get the most out of the sessions.
Try to always go together
One of the biggest barriers to couple’s therapy is sticking with it as a couple. In many cases, one of the partners is more committed than the other to sticking it out and seeing how it goes. Try to make a commitment together to go for a certain amount of sessions together no matter what.
The early days of therapy can seem like nothing is happening. Since therapy is not a cure for your relationship, it is easy to put too much stock in the therapist being able to help you. The point of couple’s therapy is for you to learn the tools that you need to rebuild your damaged relationship.
When you go together, then there is going to be an even effort from both parties to making sure that it works.
To drive home the idea that it is not up to the therapist to fix your relationship, you will be getting homework to do when you’re not at a session.
Make sure that you take these assignments seriously and stick to doing them so you can actually get more out of the therapy. For instance, you may have the task of writing down the emotions that you feel, so have a notebook handy for those moments when you need to write something down.
This can serve as a log book of your emotions and when you have arguments. Make notes about what the argument was about and whether it was resolved or not. Another assignment might be more fun than having it feel like homework. Going on a date without phones is a good one that can help you kick start some intimacy and allow you a moment to reconnect.