Couple Counselling / Relationships
How to Talk to Your Partner About Couples Counseling
The decision to go to couples counseling is difficult. Although you may find it necessary, admitting that you need a professional’s help can feel like a personal failure. Couples might avoid the subject because it officiates the haunting feeling that things aren’t going as they should in the relationship.
But the only way to get better is to be honest. Bringing up the idea of couples therapy to your partner can be even more intimidating. You may not have talked about it, or you may fear that suggesting counseling only leads to greater confrontation and distance.
Although it is difficult, addressing the need for therapy when the need arises is always best. Waiting to get help only causes problems to continue and create a greater barrier between communication and intimacy. Couples counseling could be the step you and your partner need to rebuild and reconnect in your relationship.
Starting the Conversation
You should sit down with your partner and let them know exactly why you want to go to counseling. This requires a great deal of vulnerability and honesty, which can be hard to muster. But taking the first step can demonstrate to your partner how committed you are to them and the relationship.
Someone has to make the first move, though going to therapy is a mutual decision. Let your partner know that you love them, and explain what problems have led you to seek therapy without being accusatory.
Rely on I-statements to express yourself. Rather than saying, “You never talk to me anymore,” try, “I feel a disconnect between us, like we don’t talk as much as we used to. I don’t quite know how to reach you, and I’d like to work on that together. I miss sharing things with you.”
It’s important to explain how issues and actions on both sides impact you. Recognize your own partner’s feelings as well. A couples counselor will be there to honor both of your perspectives and your shared bond.
The conversation should also be centered around a goal that you can work toward together. Counseling is not a place to “fix” anyone, because none of us are broken or damaged. Instead, it brings greater awareness to problems and helps people find solutions using their unique strengths.
What Will Happen in Couples Therapy?
We will work with you to identify key issues in the relationship. We do not take sides, but instead opt to build greater trust and respect through mutual empathy. You will both be encouraged to listen with an open mind and heart and take accountability for your own actions.
To avoid falling into the same patterns of conflict, disconnect and avoidance, your therapist will guide the conversation to help you both learn to recognize and value each other’s side of the story. Unifying that story into a healthy, harmonious relationship is the ultimate goal.
Benefits of Couples Counseling
The greatest benefit of couples counseling for many is the opportunity to speak openly. It can be hard for couples to express themselves clearly in a relationship when there is anger, fear and anxiety clouding the connection between them. Therapy gives each person a place to be present, express themselves openly and discuss rather than judge and defend.
Couples from every age and walk of life can benefit from working with a counselor to improve their communication and build upon their strengths as individuals. It can be the stepping stone a couple needs to reach a deeper level of trust and intimacy that only comes from overcoming challenges together.