So you’ve decided to go to couples counseling. Now, that’s a decision worth feeling good about. While the reasons you might be seeking help may not feel good to you, I hope you can find joy in the fact that you’ve decided to face the problem head on.
This is a big decision and I’m glad you’ve decided to take this step. Following these tips will help you get the most out of couples therapy.
Every therapist is not the right one for you
Just because you’ve found a therapist doesn’t mean that they’re the right one for you. Most therapists offer complementary phone consults. This is a great opportunity to speak with a few to determine who is the best fit for your needs. Many couples therapists have specialties so you’ll want to find someone with a background and experience with your particular concerns.
Don’t wait too long
Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today. You’ve probably thought about going to counseling before and maybe even discussed with your partner but keep putting it off. You’re not doing yourself any favors by waiting. The longer you wait the more time, effort and money you’ll end up putting into it. Many people see couples therapy as something you do as a last resort and really it should be the first line of defense when a relationship is in trouble.
Honesty is the best policy
If you’re not ready to be real and honest, you won’t get the most out of therapy. A good therapist will not judge you or shame you. They should provide an environment that feels safe to express and explore hard truths. You need to be honest about everything so your therapist can have all the information to understand your needs and give the best help possible.
Be consistent with your appointments
Consistency will be your ally. Showing up consistently for appointments will go a long way. I’ve found that the couples who are the most consistent do better and make faster progress than others who don’t maintain consistency. I know this can be hard to do with juggling other obligations such as work and parenting, however, it is a sacrifice worth making. These other major life areas can be negatively impacted when a couple is dealing with problems in their relationship. Making the commitment to be consistent will have an overall positive impact on the couple’s life, not just their relationship.
Many couples come in expecting fast results and sometimes grow impatient that things aren’t improving fast enough. It took many years (in most cases) for the problems to develop and will take some time (and effort) to undo the damage. Be patient and let the process naturally unfold. Focus on what you’re getting out of the experience and not how long you think it’s taking. The truth is, it takes as long as it takes. It will vary from one couple to another as all relationships are different and therefore have different needs. The best thing you can do for yourself is to let go of any preconceived notions of how long you think it will take.
Keep the lines of communication open with your therapist. Show up (literally and figuratively) and do the work needed to make your relationship better. Afterall that is what you signed up for with your partner, right? You want a relationship that feels rewarding and fulfilling and know that there’s room for improvement in what you have now.
Follow these 5 tips to maximize the results of your work with your therapist. If you’re still on the fence and not sure if couple’s therapy is right for you, contact me today for help in making that decision.