Couples Counseling 101
Contributed by Kevin Libster, LPCC
“The question is not if they are perfect, but are you two perfect for each other?”
There is no such thing as a perfect couple, but couples can always work on improving their relationship. Contemplating whether or not to enter into couples counseling can be a difficult decision. An embarrassing question for most is , “Does this mean our relationship has issues?” Entering into couples counseling is not an admission of failure. There are multiple reasons why couples choose to participate in counseling. For examples-- at the start of a new a relationship, when contemplating divorce or separation, following a life stressor, while experiencing financial troubles, or simply stated, as a way that partners can improve their already strong relationship.
Couples deciding to enter the therapeutic relationship usually work on a few common goals such as: communication, conflict resolution, trust, grief, physical or emotional struggles, and managing stress .
Couples counseling provides an opportunity for couples to share and explore their feelings in a safe environment. They have a possibility to learn more about themselves, their partners, and their relationship. Counselors can enhance this process and assist couples in developing more positive patterns of communication and interactions in an effort to create a healthier, more fulfilling relationship. An example of this is practicing healthy ways to resolve conflicts. Conflicts are not necessarily a bad thing. Conflicts can be used as learning opportunities for relationships to grow stronger. This is one area where couples counseling can enhance a good relationship, and make it stronger. Counseling can improve or develop healthier patterns of communication. Individuals can learn more about their feelings to help them make decisions in the relationship , including the status of their relationship. Sometimes this means ending or changing their current relationship. Couples counseling is not always about fixing a bad relationship. Sometimes it can be about appropriately ending an irreconcilable, unhealthy relationship.
What would you like to use couples counseling for?
Entering into couples counseling is not about admitting there are problems in the relationship, all relationships have their flaws. The focus is on making a conscious effort to utilize a professional to improve their already existing relationship. Oftentimes, people utilize couples counseling as a proactive measure to prevent more severe problems.