A Beginner’s Guide to Couples Counseling – All You Need to Know

a Guide to Couples Counseling

Couples counseling is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on helping unmarried and married couples to strengthen their relationship, solve issues and handle conflicts more healthily. Ideally, couples start with coaching sessions whenever there is a crisis, indifference, serious issues, or even a breakup.

There isn’t a wrong or right time to go to couples counseling, as a matter of fact, you can try it out in case you are navigating through a difficult time in your relationship or to proactively improve your communication.

The point is, that you and your partner need to come to an agreement and work to strengthen your relationship together. It’s a two-person thing and if only one of you puts in the effort, nothing will be solved.

Read on as we analyze the key points and highlights of couples therapy. This guide will help you communicate healthier and assist you in learning the basics.

When Do You Need Couples Therapy?

Couples therapy is not necessary only when a major life event occurs or during a crisis. It can be useful to manage underlying issues or solve recurring conflicts. Experts advise that couples therapy is not intended for toxic and abusive relationships, where partners can say vulnerable things and make things worse. In such a case, you need to seek professional help or even reach out to a domestic violence hotline.

The most common signs that couples need therapy include negative behavior, frequent heated discussions, lack of communication, or even infidelity. While most couples won’t stay together after a cheating event occurs, some of them manage to regain their trust and restore the relationship to a stable level.

The best couples therapist San Francisco advises couples to analyze their behavior, try to listen to the other person, and find a solution that will work for both the partners. 

If you find yourself seeing only the negative things at your partner, or a feeling of blame is present, there’s a real warning sign that your relationship needs guidance and professional help. If you have the same fights repetitively, and nothing ever is truly resolved, start couples therapy.

In case you find yourself distant and talking less and less with your partner, it’s a sign that your relationship needs help. According to Steven Harris, a professor of Marriage and Family Therapy and a Ph.D. associate at the University of Minnesota, couples often assume things when the other person doesn’t express their feelings. In such a case, the person is left with their own thoughts without being reassured or corrected by the partner.

How to Prepare for Couples Counseling

The preparation process might be different for everybody. It’s not like you need a lot of preparation to start couples therapy. The key is for both of you to be eager for a change, so you can find the underlying issue of your conflicts. 

Follow these steps to be best prepared:

  • Identify your goals – this can be either to move toward marriage or establish new routines in the relationship like sharing chores or spending quality time
  • Prepare to be uncomfortable – most of the time, you’ll hear things you won’t be content with. Counseling requires a lot of practicing and exercising accepting that your partner is not perfect. Oftentimes, you might end up hurt, embarrassed, or angry throughout the session
  • Share as much as possible – you are at therapy to share things, communicate things effectively with your partner, don’t hold back as this is the arena to get everything out in the open, and stay calm

How to Get the Most Out of Your Couples Counseling?

Couples Counseling

Once you start with coaching sessions, you may need to put in some extra hard work, a shift in your attitude, and change the way you’ve been communicating with your partner. All couples reach a comfort zone in their relationships that often results in indifference, lack of commitment, and not paying attention to the small details like before, but it is addressing them that will begin to solve things.

Many times, people go to couples therapy with a list of what the other partner does that makes them angry, discontent, or unsatisfied. It’s inevitable to trigger emotional responses, so you need to be willing to work on yourself and not just deal out blame.

Avoid using the “You” statement and instead focus on starting your sentences with “I feel”. Of course, there will be people who will be overly blaming and not very assertive with their partners. What to do to get the most of it?

  • Be receptive
  • Be honest
  • Be willing to make progress in the relationship
  • Be patient, since changes take time

Start Your Coaching Today!

You’ve searched for couples therapy online for a reason and we are there for you. If you’ve found yourself struggling in your relationship, or you feel like nothing ever is like before, it’s time to prioritize things and work on yourself and your partner. Couples therapy is useful in solving issues, so start it today!

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