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Five Tips For Marriage Counselling (Couples Therapy) To Succeed
July 19, 2021
Updated May 2023
This article takes inspiration from Blue Therapy on Trend Central and shares five tips for marriage counselling to succeed.
Couples Therapy (or marriage counselling) helps increase your understanding of yourself, your partner, and things that are not going right in the relationship.
Once these have been explored and understood, you will learn how to change your feelings, thoughts, and actions.
Then you can change ineffective or destructive behaviours into positive ones that will enhance your relationship.
Sounds like a brilliant way to address problems that arise in relationships, doesn’t it?
But there are some worrying statistics about couples therapy.
For example, according to an expert in this area:
“Couples therapy ….isn’t always effective. Only about 50% of partners view their couples’ work as effective two years into treatment, and 25% believe they are worse off than before. Perhaps more concerning, 43% of divorced partners sought couples therapy while still married, but the relationship ended anyway. This data suggest that we have work to do to improve treatment efficacy for distressed partners.” – Matthew McKay, PhD, 2017
So this tells us that marriage counselling does help a significant number of people. However, in an equally large number, it fails.
This may be due to irreconcilable differences, of course.
But sometimes, couples seeking therapy do not benefit from it, thanks to their expectations as they begin.
Now let’s look at five tips for successful marriage counselling that couples going into therapy for the first time often get wrong. We also consider how you can handle things a little better.
Today’s video follows the recent Youtube series Blue Therapy featuring two ‘fictional’ couples in counselling sessions that viewers were allowed to peek into.
They played the roles so well that they spawned a lot of spirited discussions online!
#1. Expectation About the Therapist’s Role.
Unlike in individual sessions, where you are the only client, in marriage counselling, where you have the therapist and two individuals, the relationship is the client.
The aim is to help the relationship get better. Between the two of you, your therapist is neutral and is not there to take sides or Judge YOUR Partner on your behalf.
Instead, they act as a guide and help hold up a mirror to look at the relationship. They are really present as an advocate for the relationship.
Hopefully, they can provide a safe space where you as a couple can discuss conflicts and really listen to each other.
#2. REALISE how INTRUSIVE Sessions can Become.
It should be obvious that intimate details could be exposed if you go in honestly to discuss your partnership.
You are certainly entitled to your privacy as an individual. You may not feel comfortable divulging some information and want to keep it to yourself in some cases.
However, take the example of your work, for instance. Is knowing a little about what you do relevant to the session?
Yes. It could help the therapist better frame ‘who you are’.
It may help them understand the pressure your job could put you under, affecting your relationship.
#3. Don’t Expect Change To Come From Your Partner ONLY.
This expectation builds up consciously or unconsciously when one partner believes they have done nothing wrong. But really, they are not listening to their other half or even willing to work with them.
They just see the problem belongs to the other person who needs to deal with it.
Sadly, that will not help a relationship to heal.
#4. Therapy can be Unpleasant – With Surprising Revelations.
Therapy could turn up unexpected and sensitive issues like sex, weight, or relatives that your partner does not even realise exists or just takes for granted.
Knowing this, you can prepare for the unexpected and ready yourself mentally to help absorb some of the shocks if it happens.
The hurt or surprise may still be present, but you may handle the revelation a little better.
Exploring difficult scenarios is at the centre of successful marriage counselling – but you should realise that while some issues may be obvious – a lot more may not.
#5. It can get tense/nasty, or argumentative.
Out of our bag of tips for marriage counselling, this may seem the most obvious.
But the truth is that conflict will arise occasionally, just as we are all different.
Conflict can lead to growth. So having disagreements in a respectful space where neither party feels threatened or intimated can help reveal true feelings hidden for ages.
Handled properly, they could heal. So realising that it may not be smooth sailing and readying yourself mentally for that can help.
According to an experienced therapist:
“ATTITUDE IS KEY. CHANGE YOURSELF – NOT YOUR PARTNER. CONFLICT PRODUCES GROWTH. MANAGING CONFLICT LEADS TO A HARMONIOUS RELATIONSHIP” – The Psychotherapy Center.
Many couples don’t know what to expect when attending marriage counselling sessions.
So, they create expectations in their minds that could derail their progress. Hopefully, with these tips for successful marriage counselling, you can scale the initial hurdles and progress to useful discussions and transformations in your relationship.
Did you have marriage counselling, or are you planning to? Tell us what you think is the biggest hurdle in starting therapy sessions in the comments section below. Stay Well!
Editing by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on various healthcare conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and help promote quality healthcare. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified healthcare practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly
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