Are you and your partner having relationship troubles? Many times when we are in a troubled relationship we can’t see any way out. A romantic relationship is hard work. It requires continual maintenance to continue running smoothly. When there’s a problem, it is best to address it quickly so it doesn’t grow into something bigger.
Couples can often work on their relationship and address issues themselves. However, sometimes this doesn’t work and we need a professional to help. Unfortunately, while we are quick to take our car in for repairs, we often hesitate when it comes to our personal relationships.
There are many potential relationship counseling benefits and putting off counseling can have a detrimental effect and even negatively impact chances for successfully resolving the relationship issues.
What Is Relationship Counseling
Relationship therapy is a type of psychotherapy. A therapist with clinical experience will work with couples to resolve issues in their relationship. Generally, the therapist is licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist. They are trained in how to help two people gain insight into their relationship. The counselor may provide tools for resolving conflict and improving relationship satisfaction. The counselor may use a variety of therapeutic interventions.
During relationship counseling, a skilled and knowledgeable third party can often see things the partners cannot. The counselor may point out options you didn’t consider. They may mention relationship patterns and offer possible reasons for reactions. A good relationship counselor won’t force either partner into taking certain actions but may help uncover issues that are part of the problem.
What To Expect
Relationship therapy often begins by focusing on a specific problem. It might be difficulties in the bedroom or jealousy. The therapist may ask questions of both partners to get an idea of the relationship’s history. They may ask about each partner’s family or their upbringing. If crisis intervention is necessary, the therapist may use the early sessions to deal with these issues first.
If two people are in an unhappy relationship, resentment over unaddressed issues can build until something breaks. In marriage, this could mean a separation or divorce and in a partnership, it could mean one party just walking away. Quite often one or both parties never speak up and voice their unhappiness. They either push it down or use some other means to deal with the situation.
There are also couples who recognize when they are having relationship problems and want to do everything possible to fix the situation. These people are the most likely to try relationship counseling. They recognize there are many potential relationship counseling benefits if they are determined to try and work on their problems.
Relationships That Can Benefit From Counseling
Relationship therapy is beneficial for any type of relationship. It doesn’t matter if the partners are straight, gay, old, young, married or dating. A married couple may discover new ways for regaining the sense of excitement they had when first married and adding romance back into their relationship. An engaged couple may learn through pre-marital counseling what to expect in a relationshp once all the hoopla dies down.
There is no doubt that working on a marriage or a partnership takes certain skills. A relationship counselor can teach these skills and provide new ways of coping and problem-solving. Couples who enter counseling willing to try often find that therapy provides many benefits.
Relationship counseling can help resolve a current problem or prevent an issue from getting worse. It may also help by simply providing a check-up for a happy couple who are facing a period of extreme stress or emotion. Areas commonly addressed during relationship counseling include issues with parenting, money, sex, infidelity, health, in-laws, gambling, infertility, substance abuse, drinking, frequent conflict and emotional distance.
If the problem in the relationship is commitment, a counselor can help by managing the conversation that may be impossible for either partner to engage in on their own. Bolstering faded emotions or a commitment to the relationship takes work and motivation by both partners.
Love doesn’t usually occur overnight. It takes time to build a relationship and when that relationship is weakened, it may take a while to strengthen it again. One of the relationship counseling benefits is learning new ways to deal with old problems.
Skills Learned In Counseling
The couple will often learn strategies for resolving conflict in healthy ways. They will learn to communicate. They may learn not only how to listen to their partner, but also how to process what is said.
The counselor will teach couples how to talk about their needs without anger or resentment. This is the start of a healthy relationship.
Individuals will learn how to assert themselves without being offensive. It is important that both spouses feel comfortable talking about their feelings and emotions without fear of the other partner getting angry or hurt. Relationship counseling helps couples learn how to get that each person needs without making demands or engaging in conflict.
Couples also learn how to process information from the other partner and work through unresolved issues. Counseling should be considered a safe environment where each partner can express themselves openly. They should be comfortable admitting unhappiness or strong emotions. Quite often, it only takes getting these emotions out in the open to see true progress in a relationship.
What If One Partner Resists Counseling
If one partner isn’t willing to work on the relationship, the attempt to improve the partnership may fail. If one partner refuses to try relationship counseling, the other partner may still benefit if they attend on their own. The counselor should be aware that the partner isn’t there for individual counseling, but needs help with their relationship.
While relationship counseling is best if both partners are involved, it can still be helpful if only one partner attends. All relationships can be impacted by the behavior and attitude of the partners. Even if only one partner is intent on resolving issues, it can help.
The partner who chooses not to attend counseling may initially be suspicious of the other partner’s motives. As long as the partner in counseling is honest and sincere in their attempts to improve the relationship, both partners may enjoy a better relationship.
People can resist attending counseling for a number of reasons. It isn’t easy to talk about your problems with a stranger. It can be even harder facing what is wrong with your marriage or relationship. Emotions can get raw and feelings may get hurt. Talking about issues and emotions can also be embarrassing and one partner may resent being put on the spot.
Trying to force someone into relationship therapy is never a good idea. The person could become resentful or angry and it might even end up damaging the relationship permanently.
Good relationship counseling helps get each partner’s perspective out in the open. Both partners may realize they’ve been ignoring the other’s feelings. They may learn to see things from their partner’s perspective.
This isn’t just learning how to communicate. It is also learning to accept that their partner may see things differently. They may even come to realize that their partner’s view may conflict with their own, but that is okay. Neither partner necessarily has to change how they think, they just need to learn to accept the differences.
Couples also develop a much deeper understanding of their spouse and who they really are and what they really need. They may also realize they understand themselves a little better and can more accurately describe their own needs. When couples are more aware of each other’s needs and desires, these can often be met within the relationship if both partners are willing to try.
Relationship skills can be learned. There is an art to maintaining a strong relationship and a relationship counselor helps by teaching the necessary skills. They then monitor the progress of the couple and help mediate any conflict. Most importantly, the therapist often provides objective feedback on how each partner can improve.
A Different Approach
Many couples are hesitant to lay all their problems out on the table. They may perceive a stigma from entering relationship counseling or it may simply be too expensive.
Some relationship counselors are trying a new type of counseling. Text-based therapy has several advantages over the traditional face-to-face counseling.
First, couples tend to share more openly and there are no opportunities for an interruption. It is helpful for some to process what they want to say before they actually say it. Communicating via text allows a person to work through their thoughts before sharing them.
Each partner also has time to process what their partner is saying before they are called to react. This type of counseling format provides each partner space and the time to consider what their partner is saying. They can reflect on the comments and then focus on their reply. Many individuals also find they are better at explaining their feelings or thoughts through writing. This may allow for more honest and open expression which can often increase partner intimacy.
This type of relationship counseling may also be beneficial if one or both partners travels frequently or if they have significantly different schedules. Couples in these types of situations often find it difficult to attend therapy sessions at the same time.
This type of relationship counseling also offers couples with children a chance to receive therapy even if they can’t find a sitter.
Couples who wait too long to attend relationship counseling may find the odds for success are low. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to fix the problems. This shouldn’t keep a couple from trying. Seeking professional help is the only sure way to know if counseling will help or not. Your relationship should be one of the most important things in your life. Don’t make the mistake of giving up and walking away.
You will never know what relationship counseling benefits you will receive if you don’t try. You may later regret it if you don’t make the attempt to save your relationship. Even if one or both partners are considering divorce or a breakup, working with a relationship counselor may prove beneficial. The counselor can help each partner work through their emotions and come to terms with whether or not to divorce or break up with their partner.
Even if relationship counseling can’t save your current relationship, you can learn skills to help improve the odds of future relationships succeeding. Strong relationships take work. They also take a commitment from each of the partners. Attending relationship counseling shows that you are both committed to making an effort to repair your relationship.