Couples Counselling

Do you find yourself arguing with your partner too often without ever resolving anything? Does your relationship feels stale? Then perhaps your relationship would benefit from relationship therapy.

Beginning any form of counselling is daunting and in fact people tend to find it harder to start couple counselling than individual therapy. Having your partner in the seaot next to you ready to disagree while you are exposing your inner most hopes and fears can leave you feeling particularly vulnerable. If you can get over your fear of couples therapy the rewards are often much greater than those of individual counselling.

It probably helps to know what happens in a counselling session:

1. Your couples counsellor will be interested in your current problems and issues in your relationship

Your counsellor will ask you both 'what has brought you here?' This is a basic question, yes, but it assists the counsellor to know what are your issues, problems, struggles, or difficulties that have led to you both to couples counselling.

2. Your counsellor may inquire about how your relationship started

Why this question you may ask? Well, it's to help the counsellor know what drew you together in the first place. The answers to this question will hlep the counsellor evaluate important milestones in your relationship: it provides a map of where you've come from and where you want to go.

3. Your counsellor will want to know some of your individual history

This is an important part of counselling. It helps the counsellor understand what historical issues may be affecting you in your life. We are all shaped by our life experiences and this in turn shapes how we relate to others, and in particular how they may be impacting the couple relationship.

4. Your counsellor will want to know what kind of relationship you desire

Most couples come to couples counselling because they are unhappy with an aspect of their relationship. It helps to know what each of you desires in a relationship as this helps to chart a course for what you both want or don't want. The vision is the destination and you need to start a plan of how to get there.

5. Your couples counsellor will be looking for your strengths as a couple

This is important because it then means you can build on the strengths you already have in your relationship.

6. Your couples counsellor will be asking you about your individual relationship blocks

A good couples counsellor will be help you get very clear about what you (as an individual) need to start doing differently to improve your relationship. The quickest way to bring your couples counselling to a standstill is to keep focusing on what your partner need to change in order for YOU to be happy. The quickest way to start to improve your relationship is to be open to discover your own individual blocks to relating effectively and start to work on them for yourself.

7. Your counsellor will be inviting you to relate in a different way in the session

Talk therapy can only get you so far. Effective couples counselling involves you speaking with your partner (not the therapist) about the issues that matter to you. Your counsellor will coach couples to live in the session so you can both experience how it feels to start relating in more productive ways. This is a powerful way of learning and bringing about change.

 8. Your couples counsellor will be proactive, responsive and give ongoing feedback

Couples counselling is very dynamic so it it requires a counsellor who is not afraid to step in and intervene when needed throughout the session. To have a counsellor sit back and let you argue for long periods of time will mean that you won't experience any long-lasting change. A good counsellor will lead the session so your'e both heard and escalations are interrupted. After all, change comes from doing things differently.

9. You may get homework

After some sessions, the counsellor may decide to give you homework so you can practice more effective ways of relating and communicating outside of therapy. You will be encouraged to notice helpful ways of communicating outside the session so you can start to respond differently.

10. Your couples counsellor will regularly review your work together

Couples counselling is rarely something that you start doing with no end date. An  effective counsellor will pause and review your work together on a regular basis. This is so you can track what's working and what's not working in the counselling. You should be also be able to give positive and negative feedback to the counsellor so your counsellor can change tack if needed. This will help you get the most out of your work together and support you in getting the best possible results.