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Getting the Most Out of Couples Counseling

Here are some ways to make sure you get the most out of couples counseling.

First spend some time with yourself.  Ask yoursefl if you are willing to do the hard work it will take. Be honest and look into your reasons you want to have couples counseling. Make sure you are willing to look at your behaviors instead of just looking for further fault in your spouse (what are your motives).  Are you looking to work on staying in the marriage, work on getting out of the marriage, or to work on making a decsion to get out or stay in the marriage? Are you willing to be transparent as you take on the difficult and challenging work of rebuilding your relationship.

Have a conversation with your spouse about you wanting to work on your marriage. Take the risk make your intentions known first. Show that you are willing to be transparent and to be vulnerable. Let your spouse know that you long for a truely intimate connection and that you are committed to work on intimacy without blaming. Then listen, non-defensively, to your spouse's feelings about working on a more intimate relationship by going to therapy.

Work together to find a list of tow to three possible therapists. Before making a final decsion on your therapist attend a session with each one of them to see if the therapist is a fit for both of you.  If either of you does not feel comforortable, keep looking. Check online ratings, call and ask question of the perspective therapist. . Make sure your therapist has experience in the area the two of you have the most conflicts. Find a therapist that is comfortable sharing the truth about he or she observes.  Choose a therapist that is believes in rebuilding and keeping the marriage together instead of divorce. At the end of the first session, I tell couples to go home and discuss their experience with me and to make sure both are comfortable coming back.

Your decision to work on having a more intimate relationship with your spouse is something that your want to keep between the two of you. You may need to set boundaries with family members and friends, both for yourselves and others. Putting each other down in front of others is a behavior you will want to stop immediately if this a pattern in your relationship.

Plan to commit to 10 to 12 sessions with an open mind.  If during that time you feel it is necessary to end the relationship, be honest.  Let your spouse and your therapist know.  The remainder of your sessions will then focus on ending the relationship on a better note.  It will prove very beneficial if you take the time to learn what your parts (behaviors) that contributed to the relationship ending.

The benfits you may want to consider in choosing to stay married.  Happily married people are emotionally and physically healthier than their single counterparts, wealthier, less anxiety-prone, and less depressed. Happily married people that have a stron partnership have a stronger immune system, live longer, and have more sex. The mental and physical health benefits of being lovingly attached are well documented.


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