For anyone who may be new to it, couples’ counseling can be daunting. Yet, it’s a step in the right direction, and after your first session, you’ll find that going to therapy is nothing to fear. To help put your mind at ease, find out what you can expect to learn from relationship counseling below.
Key Learnings You Can Expect From Couples’ Counseling
1. How to Work Through Painful Issues
Many people first go to counseling because they’re experiencing an issue that’s causing them pain. There could be something going wrong in the relationship, whether that’s money, career issues, problems with in-laws, or sex. In many cases, the underlying issue isn’t the problem itself; it’s that the couple doesn’t know how to communicate effectively about the hard stuff. For this reason, couples who engage in therapy get a two-fold benefit: not only do they learn how to have the difficult but necessary conversations, but they also experience a deeper level of intimacy by connecting more wholeheartedly.
A counselor may help you and your partner work out confusing emotions and thoughts so that you can communicate with one another on challenging subjects more effectively. You might also learn how to give and receive feedback in a way that’s conducive to solving issues, how to listen without becoming defensive, and ways to reflect on an issue or argument before moving on. In doing so, you may be less likely to get stuck in a cycle of arguing about the same issues over and over again.
2. Ways to Embrace Vulnerability
One of the greatest barriers to relationship health is defensiveness. It can be difficult to open up about challenging issues, but embracing vulnerability can lift a huge burden off your shoulders. It’s also important for the other partner to accept their loved one’s vulnerabilities with love and support. It may take some time to fully break down any walls you or your partner have put up to resist vulnerability, but this is a key issue a couples’ counselors can help you confront.
3. Strategies for Staying Accountable
Couples’ counseling is only as effective as your commitment to following through on the learnings you take from it. Chances are, you’ll learn how to recognize ways you could improve, and acknowledging your own shortcomings in the future will help to make for an overall healthier relationship. Of course, hearing your shortcomings brought up by your partner can still be upsetting, so you may learn how to develop strategies such as going for a walk, taking a deep breath, or writing about your feelings to stay relaxed in these situations. At the end of the day, keeping in mind that not everyone is perfect and taking responsibility for mistakes can go a long way in improving a relationship.
If you’re ready to start learning more about your relationship, contact Chuck Beardsley LCSW in Mountainside, NJ. As an experienced couples’ counselor, Chuck helps partners work through relationship challenges with effective communication and coping strategies. Find out more about how he helps couples here or call (908) 274-3189 to set up an appointment.