You’ve decided to pursue couples counseling. That’s great! We want you to get the most out of the experience. Couples counseling is the perfect platform for conflict resolution, communication building, and personal growth. Here are some tips on how to maximize the effects of couples counseling.
Think of Discussion Topics in Advance
The best way to have a productive therapy session is to prepare for it a little in advance. Think about issues you want to address with your therapist. If you have a disagreement you can’t seem to resolve, write it down for the appointment. Keep a therapy journal to look through during the session. You may not remember everything on the spot, so it’s good to have a reference point.
Search for Solutions
Approach couples counseling with the right mindset. This is more than just a space to ‘say what you really mean.’ It’s a platform for solutions. You’re looking for ways to improve the dynamic of your relationship, whether that’s through better communication, balanced responsibilities, time management, stress management, etc. Be willing to look for solutions.
Apply What You Learn in Therapy
Once you find solutions, use them. The only way to truly benefit from therapy is to apply the lessons you’ve learned within it. If you resort to old habits, you will continually face old problems. Your therapist will teach you how to share your concerns and opinions in a respectful manner, and how to trust one another along the way. You can use these tools for the entirety of your relationship. Pay attention during therapy, and apply those lessons to your daily life.
Acknowledge Your Role in Every Conflict
You don’t have to be ‘at fault’ to play a role in a conflict. What could you have done to make the situation better? How could you have avoided the conflict altogether? It’s human nature to think you’re right and the other person is wrong. You may also become defensive to protect yourself during a conflict. However, it’s important to put those instincts aside and assess the situation as a whole. Figure out how you contributed to the matter, and your partner will be more likely to do the same.
Some of the strategies you learn in therapy may seem unnatural at first. For instance, some couples are so used to talking over one another that they need a tool to take turns. One person holds a pencil while they speak, then passes it to the other person to speak. This isn’t a requirement for every couple, but it’s an example of how strange counseling may seem at first. If you’re patient and open-minded, these strategies will develop into healthy communication habits. The pencil-yielding couple learns how to take turns without a device. The overstressed couple learns how to balance time effectively. The codependent couple learns how to be more independent. Trust the process.
Don’t Expect Overnight Change
It takes time to establish healthy communication routines. These changes will not happen overnight. You may not notice how much you are changing as a couple until you look back months later. Issues that were once major arguments may soon feel like trivial matters. Bringing closure to the past and paving the way for the future requires repetitive, purposeful action. As long as you commit to the process, you can see positive changes over time.
If you are interested in confidential, judgement-free couples counseling, contact us at (978) 222-3121. We will gladly match you with one of our licensed couples counselors.