How to make couples or relationship counselling effective
Counselling or therapy is an investment – of time, money, and effort. Like all the other investments in life, we want to get the most out of it. Here are some tips to make your couples therapy or relationship counselling yield as much return as possible.
To make couples or relationship counselling effective, couples are encouraged to be prepared to:
- Be open. In therapy, be prepared to be vulnerable, because you may learn things about yourself that is not at all comfortable. Therapy is about change – change from a dysfunctional state to a healthier state. And change is not comfortable, but it is required to make your relationship work. If you are not open to listening about how you could make your relationship better and make the necessary changes, then you are not ready for counselling.
- Be committed to work. In therapy, you may learn that some of your behaviours have been destructive to your relationship, and some changes will be required of you. It is much easier to run away than to go through this process. “Working” means being strong, being open, being prepared to continue feeling uncomfortable, knowing and embracing the knowledge that we are not perfect human beings.
- Accept that you can change only yourself. Demanding that your partner changes is counter productive to a healthy relationship. Accept that you must take responsibility for your own thoughts, emotions and actions, and by making the required adjustments you are doing your part to make the relationship better.
- Speak from your heart. Learn not to keep things inside, where they will fester and build up over time. Again, be open to being vulnerable. If you want your partner to open up to you, take the first step by showing them that it’s safe for them to do so.
- Accept responsibility for the role that you have played. For every relationship, there are two people who have contributed to its dysfunctional state. Marriage is not a competition to determine who’s right, who’s better at it, and who’s put more work into it. It is about working together as a team to achieve your shared goals and dreams.
- Do homework assignments given to you at the end of each session. You will find that a one-hour session goes by pretty fast. Homework assignments are meant to help you practice healthy behaviours, change communication styles, etc, that would help you achieve your therapeutic goals.
Your Innova couples or relationship counsellor will help you set goals at your first session that will guide you and your counsellor along your journey together. Be mindful to bring up all pertinent and relevant stuff. Your counsellor can’t possibly know you as well as you know yourselves, so give voice to your thoughts and your emotions. Make each session count.