You may have seen a couple who love each other but often argue about minor issues, leaving them feeling detached. Couple counselling might help them talk about the reasons behind their difficulties. One partner feels neglected because the other works too much, or because their perspectives on what constitutes a healthy relationship are divergent. The therapist facilitates communication between them and helps them better understand each other. It acts as a road map for resolving their issues and reestablishing their connection.

Through couples therapy, a qualified counselor assists couples in identifying the issues that are producing problems in their relationship. Having couples counseling sessions in both individual and joint settings helps facilitate this. They discuss their perspectives on the relationship, their desires for one another, and the things that are causing them to feel apart. The couple's counselor maintains concentration and directs the discussion to target certain problems in the relationship. It all comes down to finding strategies to strengthen the couple's bond and assist them in better understanding one another.

What is Couple Counselling?

Couple counseling is available to everyone in a relationship, regardless of marriage status, according to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences. Couples therapy aims to strengthen the bond between a couple by assisting them in learning more productive methods to resolve conflicts and, if necessary, providing support for a safe separation. 

When Do You Need Couples Therapy?

Usually, couples reach out for professional help when they are unable to deal with the problems of their relationship on their own anymore. Some common patterns show up in these troubled relationships:

  • Poor communication: Struggling couples find themselves trapped in a negative feedback loop during discussions. One negative remark typically triggers a hostile response from the other partner. When one person voices criticism, such as a failure to complete a chore, the other may respond defensively, escalating into a cycle of blame and defensiveness that hinders productive communication.
  • Poor Problem-Solving Skills: Couples might struggle to work through their issues. Instead of finding solutions, they end up with a bunch of unresolved fights and conflicts. This can make things worse because they start expecting every disagreement to turn out badly.
  • Strong Emotional Reactions: Couples tend to react strongly and impulsively to things. This can make it hard to communicate because they're always on edge, expecting to be attacked. Instead of engaging in active listening and seeking to comprehend alternative viewpoints, people tend to become defensive and cling firmly to their own opinions. This can result in unnecessary conflict, as seen in situations where a forgotten shopping task elicits an exaggerated response consisting of anger and blame. Feeling criticized, the accused partner retaliates by bringing up past conflicts. This defensive and adversarial communication prevents any meaningful discussion or resolution of the issue.
  • Losing the spark: As a result of all these issues, over time, couples might start to lose the happiness they once had in their relationship. Maybe they stop appreciating the nice things they used to do for each other or start taking each other for granted. It's like they forget what made them happy together in the first place, leading to a breakdown of the relationship. 

These four key indicators offer valuable insights into the health of a relationship. When you, as a couple, notice these patterns becoming more frequent or intense, it may be a sign that your relationship is breaking down. However, recognizing these warning signs can also catalyze seeking support and implementing positive changes to nurture and strengthen the bond between partners.

How do I prepare for a first couple counselling session?

Preparing for your initial couple counselling session evokes a blend of feelings. You may experience some unease coupled with a sense of optimism. It's normal to feel that way! Keep in mind that seeking professional guidance is a commendable step towards enhancing the bond you share. Before the therapy session, take a moment to reflect on your relationship. Also, engage in an open and honest conversation with your partner. These simple conversations can greatly affect how you approach your first session. Ask yourself these key questions as you and your partner prepare for your first session:

What are our main concerns or issues in the relationship?

Take some time with your partner to discuss the particular issues or disagreements that have been upsetting your relationship. Problems with trust, communication, money, or conflicting ideals, expectations, and objectives are a few examples of these. This might facilitate the alignment of goals for your sessions with your partner.

What do we hope to achieve from counseling?

When considering counseling, it's important to clarify your desired outcomes. Reflect on your relationship goals and areas you wish to improve or address. These may include fostering intimacy, rebuilding trust, enhancing communication, or simply reconnecting with your partner.

How do I communicate with my partner when we disagree or argue?

Consider your approach to handling disagreements with your partner. Do you pay attention to what they have to say, or do you become hostile or withdrawn? In this way, you and your therapist may collaborate to better resolve conflicts and fights.

Am I willing to make changes or compromises for the sake of the relationship?

Are you ready to alter your behavior or way of thinking? To improve things, you may occasionally need to compromise or change your expectations. In couples therapy, the willingness of partners to compromise and make concessions is essential. It shows their commitment to the relationship and creates a more positive environment. In this environment, both partners feel valued and listened to, which enables them to work together to solve problems.

Do I feel ready to be open and honest with my partner and the counselor?

Judging your level of comfort sharing your ideas and emotions and having frank conversations about delicate subjects. It's crucial to be open and willing to discuss difficult topics and feelings in couples therapy. Together, you both feel heard and supported in this safe place that was created. Being open to being vulnerable facilitates deeper communication and problem-solving between you. Being honest with each other is essential to improving your relationship and developing as a couple.

Before your first couples counselling session, self-preparation is crucial. Reflect on your relationship and discuss your concerns openly. This sets the foundation for a valuable and positive experience. Remember, seeking therapy together requires courage and commitment. Embrace it as an opportunity for growth and reconciliation. Approach the session with an open mindset and a collaborative spirit, aiming to build a healthier and more fulfilling partnership.

Author's Bio: 

I am Radhika Singh, today I would like to share with you some key points that you will consider when you prepare your first couple counselling session. Read our article to learn how a couple counselor helps to make a relationship beautiful.