Who Can Benefit From Couple Counseling?
by Jodie Mackay
Relationships are far from perfect. Each person brings his or her own ideas, values, opinions, and personal history into a relationship, and they don’t always match their partner’s. Those differences don’t necessarily mean your relationship is bound for conflict. On the contrary, differences can provide an opportunity to understand, respect, and tolerate opposing views and cultures.
They help us learn better ways of communicating so that the relationship is able to evolve. In sessions, couples learn to negotiate differences, problem solve, and even argue in a healthier way.
Relationships are often tested
Developmental milestones, such as the birth of a child, relocation, or retirement, can place undue stress on the couple. Differences or habits that you once found endearing may grate on your nerves after time together. Sometimes specific issues, such as an extramarital affair or loss of sexual attraction, trigger problems in a relationship. Other times, there’s a gradual disintegration of communication and caring. Whatever the cause, distress in a relationship can create undue stress, tension, sadness, worry, fear, and other issues. One may hope the relationship troubles go away on their own, but left to fester, a difficult relationship may only worsen. Over time it can lead to chronic physical or psychological problems, such as insomnia, anxiety, or depression. A conflictual relationship can also create problems at work and affect other family members and even friendships.
Sometimes we choose a particular kind of person because we are unconsciously attempting to heal some wounded part of ourselves. Our partner may mirror our insecurities in a way that pushes us to acknowledge the vulnerability. This acknowledgment is often the first step in seeking psychological support.
Couple counseling for your relationships
On the other hand, one doesn’t necessarily need to have a troubled or dysfunctional relationship to seek therapy. Couple counseling can also help couples who simply want to strengthen their bonds and gain a better understanding of one other. Counseling may also help couples who plan to move in together or marry, in that it can help to achieve a deeper understanding of one another and iron out differences before a union is sealed.
Counseling is often short-term. You may only need a few sessions to help weather a crisis. Or you may need counseling for several months, particularly if your relationship has greatly deteriorated. As with individual psychotherapy, sessions are typically once a week. Sessions can help you rebuild your relationship, or even decide that you’ll both be better off if you are break-up. Either way, couple counseling can help you understand your relationship better and make well thought-out decisions.