What happens in couples counseling?
In counseling, couples learn how to understand each other in new perspectives that promote healthy and strong relationships. The reason for counseling will determine how the counselor works with the couple. For example, premarital counseling might involve talking future expectations and goals to figure out differences before getting married. Another couple may need ways to express their emotions differently and learn to react in a better way to their partner. While divorce counseling may consist of making a plan for the children, talking about what led to this decision, and how to support one another moving forward.
There are many different skills taught to a couple during counseling:
- Communication Skills (how to bridge the gap between what you want to say and what your partner hears)
- Problem-Solving Skills
- Patience and forgiveness
- Trust and honesty
- Learning how to become more selfless
- Stress management
- Anger management
- Understanding your partner’s love language
- Tools to improve closeness and affection
- Tools to improve emotional and physical intimacy
- Uncovering and resolving past trauma that is affecting the relationship
- Discovering the underlying issues
Why Do Couples Delay in Receiving Counseling?
- Misconceptions about what couples therapy is and its purpose
- It is meant only for very serious issues affecting a relationship, including infidelity or addiction
- View it as a last-ditch effort before making the decision to end the relationship
- Or some think of it as a way to force their partner to change because they are “the problem”
Research indicates that the average couple is unhappy for six years before seeking help. Therapy can still be highly effective at resolving such long-standing problems. Many people are not aware of the benefits that couples therapy offers which can treat a wide variety of issues. Counseling can be a meaningful way to restore the foundation of the marriage and clarify whether divorce is the appropriate decision.