How Counseling Can Help Relationships
As everyone knows, relationships with significant others can be difficult. Couples need to continually work to build a relationship over time. When one or more partners in a relationship stop trying, the relationship will suffer, and the emotional bond will weaken if issues are not resolved. When a couple is unable to resolve their differences or are experiencing a level of resentment towards their partner(s), couples’ therapy is warranted.
Couples therapy need not be the last resort or a way out of considering divorce, as issues may have persisted too long to break the cycle. Couples can use therapy to learn healthy ways to build a relationship or to overcome a problem that has come up unexpectedly. Or some couples may decide to see a therapist before getting married to assess marital expectations.
The Main Goals of Couples Therapy
The goals of couple’s therapy are to learn healthy ways to compromise and work through common difficulties that affect relationships. Couples can be anywhere in their relationship to seek out therapy whether they are married or just dating, and at any age or stage of life. Further, some couples are of mixed race, straight, and/or gay.
The main goals of therapy are to recognize interaction patterns and to resolve conflicts in order to improve the quality of the relationship. The goal is not to completely change a partner but rather to learn healthy ways to compromise so that the emotional bond between a couple is stronger. That is not to say that individuals involved in treatment will not be asked to do things differently or change the way they perceive things their partner does. Further, couples may decide to attend therapy to resolve a single issue, a reoccurring issue, or as a preventative measure to ensure the relationship is functioning optimally.
What to Expect at Your First Visit
At the first session, the client(s) and their partner(s) are getting to know the therapist, and the therapist is getting to know the client(s) and their partner(s). This is considered the intake session and may include completing pertinent paperwork (which can be found on Aspire’s website and completed before the session).
The therapist will want to meet each individual alone and together to get a sense of the relationship and each individual’s past history, including family history and cultural or background information.
Together, the therapist and client(s) will work to identify goals, a treatment plan will be established, and a treatment approach will be reviewed. Often times, therapists will assign “homework” or a way to apply the skills they learned during therapy in their home environment.
Length of Time for Effective Couples Treatment
It depends on what the goals of treatment are. If the partners are generally good at resolving issues but hit a bump in the road, therapy may be brief until the couple resolves the dilemma they face. However, if the relationship pattern has been damaged, therapy may take longer.
Some couples choose to continually go for couple’s therapy in order to maintain and learn skills and develop healthy relationship patterns from the beginning in order to prevent any damage to a relationship. No matter the problem, big or small, couples therapy can work on creating a happier and healthier life for all individuals involved.
Have Questions about Couples Therapy? Aspire CFS can help.