Couples therapy can often sound like a last resort when things have gotten at its worst point. Often many individuals view therapy as a negative experience where one partner might try to get the therapist on their side, or that one partner will be proved right and the other wrong. However, counselling is not like this at all.
Therapy can help to better understand yourself, your behaviours and patterns within the relationship and to also understand your partner. The therapist can be seen as a mediator to manage conflict and help couples see eye to eye by taking turns to speak their mind.
There are many varied reasons why couples may have difficulties in their relationship.
Some common issues include;
- Communication issues
- Financial problems
- Reduced intimacy
- Lack of trust
- Control or abusive behaviour
Every relationship is unique and there may be more than one issue at present. Some individuals may also feel like they have just grown apart and have lost their spark. Whatever the reason may be, counselling can be an effective way to work through these issues to repair relationships. However, it might not always work. There are some things you need to consider before engaging in couples therapy.
Often partners may feel unhappy in their relationships, feeling unheard, disrespected or even stuck with mixed emotions. There is some stigma around coming to therapy to ‘fix’ the relationship, leaving the responsibility in the therapist’s hands. Although this is not the case.
Counselling can help but it requires being open, vulnerable and honest with your feelings and issues at hand. Both individuals need to be open to change.
If one partner is not willing to work through the relationship, and only sees a way out, this may cause difficulty. Partners need to be willing to work together and hear each other out in order to make any progress. Individuals also need to be willing to work on themselves.
Often individuals may feel like it is their partner’s fault, placing lots of blame on the other person. In this instance we also need to ask ourselves whether we have the capacity to change as well.
Couples therapy can help in the following ways;
- To increase or improve communication
- Manage conflict
- Increase intimacy
- Deal with financial stressors
- Reduce blaming and criticism
- Redefine values and strengthen relationship
Therapy involves discussing past interactions, behaviours and patterns within the relationship. Therapy provides a safe space where both individuals can be heard, and are given time to discuss their thoughts and feelings. Couples might engage in weekly activities and interventions to strengthen their relationship and promote change. No relationship is perfect and many couples can benefit from early intervention before things get to their worst point of wanting to leave altogether. Counselling can also work towards repairing relationships at point of breakup but sometimes it might not work. Counselling can also be provided to go through a healthy breakup where you can evaluate the things that didn’t work well with the help and guidance of a counsellor.
Overall, counselling can provide an opportunity to improve communication, increase emotional connection and create new goals or priorities to work towards. Couples therapy is helpful for those who are willing to give it a chance, to reset and to move forward.