What is Couples Counseling?
Couples Counseling is offered to improve relationships by providing a safe, structured environment for couples to talk through their conflict, learn and practice communication skills, and work together to resolve differences. The goal is for couples to develop a healthy relationship through working with a couples counselor to guide them in their work and to help them see the root of their conflict.
Couples Counseling is similar to marriage counseling, except that the couple is not married. They might be dating, engaged, or in a serious committed relationship. Marriage Counseling and Couples Counseling can be the same if the couple that we are working with are married. The main point is that with couples counseling we are working with a couple who may or may not be married, but hope to improve their relationship in some way.
When is it important to attend couples counseling?
Anytime! The sooner the better is the key. Problems can be resolved alone, but do you want to take the risk that they persist and become ingrained? From my experience, most couples in conflict do not have the tools to resolve their problems. If they could, they would have done so in a short amount of time. Couples come to counseling not just to resolve conflict, but to maintain healthy connections and for check-ups to make sure they are staying connected. Getting therapy for your relationship is a safe option to keep your marriage strong and to assist with problems when they are evident.
Attending counseling when a problem persists is important. Seeking counseling when a problem starts is even better. We encourage you to seek help immediately when a problem starts, not just wait to see if it will get better. Yes, it costs money, but it will be the best investment of your life!
What should I expect in couples counseling?
We start with an intake. Sometimes counselors invite each individual in for a session by themselves, first. We choose to keep the couple together. We want you to hear each other’s stories and perspectives. You will both come in and tell your perspective of why you are attending counseling. We will discuss your individual histories and the history of how you met.
We will set goals and provide you with activities and resources to work through in between sessions. You will be responsible for the growth and development of your relationship. We provide accountability, guidance, encouragement, and a safe place to come back to process what is happening outside of sessions.
Finally, we will keep up with progress through steps that we mutually agreed upon. We will check each session what steps you have completed and how close those steps get us to the goals you want to meet. When you have met your goals, we will either create new goals if you would like to continue to work on your relationship, or we will hold a session to review what you have learned and worked on. This session is called a discharge session. You will have completed counseling at that point.