Many of us worry about what relationships counselling is going to uncover, or think that this means our marriage is doomed when we get to this point. Here we look at how counselling can help you get your marriage back on track.
Constant arguing or a lack of respect for one another can be exhausting for everyone involved. Getting to the point where both partners agree to have couples counselling can take time, but there are lots of benefits to seeking further help from a qualified counsellor.
The first thing to consider is that it is much better to discuss any difficulties that are coming up time and again, and before things become unmanageable. The main aim is to get you to both see each other in the best possible light – this may seem impossible to start with, but can happen gradually over time.
“It can be really connecting to go to therapy and work out what is going on. I’ve often seen that a couple will come along and be quite moved to see what is behind their partner’s behaviour, what is going on and what’s really happening in their internal life,” says Dr Sherylin Thompson, Counselling Psychologist.
“Sometimes each side will have a different perception of what is going on, how they perceive the situation or when they feel it started going wrong. It may also be that each side of the couple has different levels of hope with the relationship working out,” Dr Sherylin adds.
What will happen in your initial session?
Every relationship expert, counsellor, psychologist or coach will have their own techniques to support you. It’s a good idea to make sure that they have the right training and relevant accreditation – and that you understand how the different types of therapy can help you.
You can also decide if you go on your own at first or have couple sessions interspersed with individual sessions. Usually the initial session provides an opportunity for both of you to explain exactly what is happening.
“If a relationship is not meant to be together then we are not going to be able to stick it together for you. It is something for the couple to come to their decision about whether or not this is something that they are prepared to work at together,” says Denise, a counsellor with Relate.
You may want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you want to leave the marriage?
- Do you want to work it out?
- How would you prefer things to be in your marriage?
- What are your expectations when it comes to your counselling sessions?
Ultimately, it’s up to you how much you get back from counselling. “You can help people find a way to confront their partner without reacting and exploding, or without blaming themselves and open up a conversation which is truly interesting, whilst acknowledging that there is going to be some anger and some fear and upset,” says Nick Seneca Jankel, relationship coach and author.