What are Your Burning Relationship Issues?
To get the most value from your first session it helps to have a sense of what your burning relationship issues are.
It can be tempting to ‘air all your laundry’ and explain in great detail all the things your partner has done to upset you and build your case. The fact is counselling is not an episode of Judge Judy and our goal is not to incriminate or direct blame. Instead thinking about your issues with a ‘solution focus’ can help you avoid common but unproductive patterns.
Let’s take a look at some helpful ideas to embrace for the best couples counselling experience.
Helpful Couples Counselling Concepts
Be Open Minded to Positive Solutions & Change
Having an open mind with a willingness to work toward solutions is an ideal approach. Talking through your top priority problems in your relationship, being less reactive and more inquisitive will be of great benefit.
Perhaps think of it like you’re an investigator and your job is to uncover and understand the motives and reasons behind the events and issues at hand.
Keep Your Eye on the Big Picture
While it’s necessary to talk about the small details at times, losing sight of the ‘forest from the trees’ can set you back or take you off course and delay progress making real changes and healing.
Couples Counselling Takes Time
Counselling helps people in many different ways on varying time frames. Unfortunately there is no magic wand to ‘fix a relationship’. However real improvements can be achieved in as little as a few sessions.
Significant breakthroughs tend to take a bit longer – the research suggests between 15 and 20 hours of therapy time is common to achieve the outcomes desired.
Most couples I see who enroll in a foundation program and put in the work required, see significant benefits in their relationship and achieve excellent outcomes.
You'll Save My Marriage Right?
I’m proud of the fact my popular Save My Marriage Program has helped hundreds of couples lead happy, healthy and loving relationships. As mentioned above, couples who put in the work and are genuinely committed to saving their relationship achieve great outcomes. A quote from one of my couples reads:
So it’s entirely possible to Save Your Marriage when everything is feeling hopeless. I use Gottman assessments to identify your relationship’s strengths and challenges and develop specific recommendations to begin repairing your relationship.
Sometimes couples who work with me decide to take a break or end their relationship. Each relationship is unique and decisions are different for everybody. The important point here is that we all work together and you’re both supported to make decisions freely.
Ultimately you are supported to do what feels right for you at the time. Remember, taking a break or separating from your partner is an opportunity for a new beginning.
Is My Relationship Too Toxic to Save?
Your safety, health and well-being is my number one concern. I support you to make the best decisions and put safety plans in place if this is a concern for you.
People who decide to leave a toxic relationship are making the best decision they can at the time. Counselling during this turbulent time helps you cope better and make cool-calm decisions with your best interests at heart. When you are stressed or emotional it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and make irrational decisions that may not serve you well in the future. For more information learn about the window of tolerance.
Moving Goal Posts - Flexible & Adaptable
Counselling shifts and adapt to your needs, which do change over time. From repairing your relationship to supporting the start of a whole new life, understand that as your needs change, so do your goals and supports. I am here to support you and guide you to feel happy, confident and empowered to live your life fully.
Are We Getting Anywhere?
Taking the time for reflection and monitoring your progress is an important part of counselling and development. It’s so easy to forget all the good things when one bad thing comes along.
Building resilience to handle inevitable setbacks and recovering from distressing events is key, as is avoiding throwing in the towel when it all feels too hard.
Taking a break instead of quitting – is an important concept to hold.
Take on board the additional concepts below to make your counselling sessions easier and rewarding. You see, the better I can help you, the easier it is for you to get back the fun, happy loving relationship you desire!
More Couples Counselling Tips
Get your relationship back on track sooner
Have the Right Attitude
The right attitude can be more beneficial than any one specific action. It’s you your partner loves, not necessarily what you do. So come with the right attitude and you’re off to a great start.
Get to the Why
Understanding the why can feel frustrating when you’re preoccupied on the who, how, where and when. However, being honest, open and naturally curious will lead you toward the why’s – and help you understand things clearer than ever before. The why’s are like the underlying fabric that make up who you are and the quality of your relationship.
Finding the right words to say can be difficult, maybe because you have never learnt to say them or express yourself in a way to articulate how you feel.
Being willing to think differently and approach topics from a new angle, may feel uncomfortable at first. However the effort is admired and will be appreciated by your partner as new pathways are revealed toward accepting change.
You see – ‘We don’t know, what we don’t know’, and the truth is there’s a lot we don’t know! Some of it we never will. Being inquisitive and not making assumptions leaves you open to learning something new that can benefit you and empower you for the rest of your life. What a wonderful gift!
Change Yourself, Not Your Partner
When couples first see me there is often a long list of problems they have with each other, and their expectations are that their partner needs to change if they are ever to be happy in the relationship.
Flipping this expectation right around and focusing on improving yourself is a much better concept. It may seem strange and difficult at first but accepting to change your self first is an effective way to improve your relationship and happiness.
For you are only able to ever control your own actions and improve yourself.
Being Comfortable with Discomfort
Fear and uncertainty are a recipe for discomfort. Becoming comfortable with a level of discomfort is helpful to work through difficult topics, past and present.
It shows you have strength and commitment to your relationship. Having the willingness to talk about difficult and sensitive topics is character building and it’s during these moments when significant shifts and breakthroughs occur.
See the Brighter Side of Life
The main aim of couples counselling and relationship coaching is to better understand yourself and your partner and the patterns of interaction between you.
With that being said counselling can be fun and an uplifting, life-changing experience. Most couples I work with see the brighter side of life at times and share a laugh to make the experience interesting and enjoyable.
Despite the difficult topics and emotional turmoil, sharing a laugh can be a great stress relief and help reduce the burdens you bear.
Taking responsibility is something you can do in your relationship. In fact you both can. Imagine the effect of both taking responsibility. The outcomes? Less blame, less arguing and a shift to a positive solution focused mind.
Your partner is your mirror – what you put out is often reflected back at you. Taking responsibility (even if you aren’t fully responsible) is a great first step toward creating a happy relationship.