If you are in a relationship that is in distress, you may feel hopeless that things can or will improve. Myths about low success rates of couples therapy may discourage you from trying counseling. Whether casually or seriously dating, married, or in a domestic partnership, everyone encounters issues in their relationships that require work. Unfortunately according to relationship expert John Gottman, Ph.D, most couples struggle for six years before seeking help and fewer than 5% of married couples actually try therapy before getting divorced. Timing really is everything when it comes to saving your relationship. *www.gottman.com/blog/timing-is-everything-when-it-comes-to-marriage-counseling/ Premarital counseling is also rarely part of wedding or partnership planning or rituals. We often spend significantly more time, effort and money planning a one-time ritual celebration of love than preparing for a lifetime of teamwork with our partners by nurturing the foundation of the relationship. Unfortunately, most couples don't even consider seeking therapy until the survival of their relationship is already in question, which is often also a time when one or both partners is least enthusiastic about doing the work to save their union. The good news is that it is never too late to learn more effective, productive, and healthier ways to listen, connect, communicate, and celebratee your most important relationships. Couples/relational counseling is one way to begin that process.
what can we expect from relationship counseling?
The process of relationship or couples therapy is unique to each situation. Below is a general idea of what to expect:
Each partner has the chance to air grievances and express how they've been hurt or disappointed by the other in a safe environment with a therapist present. The therapist will create a space where each partner receives support and has the best opportunity to understand and hear their significant other.
Once each partner has acknowledged the hurts, you can then move on to exploring what went wrong so you know where to focus. You'll discuss opinions about what happened, and the therapist will work to ensure each partner’s feelings are given equal weight.
When the events and facts become fairly well understood, you can then start looking deeper to understand what emotional and psychological dynamics were at play that may have contributed to the dysfunction in the relationship. It is here that repair and healing happens.
Finally, you'll start the process of learning and practicing new ways to relate that are healthier and foster a new sense of connection and intimacy. It truly is never too late to begin a new chapter in a relationship where the foundation of healthy love and respect exists.
The goals for couples counseling/relationship coaching are to heal relational wounds through new awareness, learning, and new behaviors that lead to a greater capacity for love, intimacy, and connection.