How to Get the Most Out of Your Couples Counseling Sessions
When a couple is getting ready to attend a couples counseling session, they may be understandably nervous, especially if they have never gone together before. While there may be a current issue that must be worked through, in many cases there is a much deeper emotional theme that needs to be addressed too. Also, partners who feel as though they keep going in circles over a dispute must be open to learning new responses and behaviors to break the cycle. In order to make the sessions as valuable as possible, there are few things each partner should know.
Q: What is the most helpful approach to couples counseling sessions?
A: In preparation of the session, both partners can think about their goals and what the next step may be to create the type of relationship they desire. Significant effort must be made when reflecting, otherwise the issue or dynamic may remain stagnant. It takes personal work on both sides for the relationship to improve. It is important to walk into sessions with a clear idea of what you want to discuss to make the most out of your experience.
Q: What will I have to compromise on to get the most out of counseling?
A: To create the relationship dynamic you want, there may be some challenging trade-offs and decisions to be made for both partners. It takes time to create a relationship that thrives. Even if each partner has a busy life, they must set aside time to relax, hang out, talk, and perhaps participate in adventurous activities together. This time may impede on other areas of your life, but the relationship must take the front seat during this process.
Q: What if I am nervous to talk about my emotions?
A: Many people who are apprehensive to attend couples counseling, are afraid to feel and expressing a wide range of intense emotions. However, it is the role of the counselor to create a space that is calm and non-confrontational. Emotional effort will have to be made to see improvements in the relationship. For example, you may be encouraged to listen intently without withdrawing or getting defensive with your partner. Or, you may need to practice sharing your feelings when you would have otherwise ran away.
Q: How long will it take to see improvements in my relationship?
A: How soon improvements are seen depends on how much genuine thought and energy each partner is investing into the process. It also depends on the depth of issues that have built up, which led to the point you are at now. It takes sustained and consistent effort over-time to slowly change patterns of behavior. It is key that both partners understand that the relationship may not change to how you want it to be overnight. Rarely does a couple only require a single session of counseling Palatine, IL trusts to overcome their current issues. It often takes several sessions over weeks or months to see progress being made.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Lotus Wellness Center for their insight into couples counseling and how to get the most out of your session.