Well, congratulations – you are on the right path towards repairing your relationship. In fact, your proactive stance is probably going to save your “coupling.” Things may seem rough right now, but with the help of a couple’s counselor, things will soon start looking up for you and your partner. Truth-be-told, it is not easy to share your innermost feelings with a complete stranger, but right now that is what your relationship needs, if it is to survive the trials and tribulations it is now experiencing. A couple’s counselor can teach you and your partner the skills needed to develop and maintain a healthy, happy and successful relationship. So, now that you have both made the commitment to attend couple’s counseling, what happens next? Well, it is your lucky day because this article will give you an idea of what to expect when attending couple’s counseling.
Listed below are some topics that your couple’s counselor may broach during couples counseling:
One of the first things that your couple’s counselor may ask is: “What has brought you to counseling?” In other words, what is your main or most pressing issue? He or she will probably ask you this question individually and together. Be honest with your counselor. He or she is there to help you resolve your issues and save your relationship. Do not be embarrassed to share your thoughts and feelings with him or her – your counselor has probably seen and heard it all. There is no right or wrong answer to this question – simply speak from your heart. What if there is more than one issue? Well, in most cases, there is more than one issue, so your couple’s counselor will address the most pressing issue first and then gradually work down the list until all of your issues have been resolved.
Your couple’s counselor will more than likely ask you and your partner about your individual goals and your goals as a couple. What would you like to see happen during counseling? What individual short-term and long-term goals would you like to accomplish with the help of your counselor? What skills do you need to improve to accomplish these goals? What do you need to change about your behavior and thought process, to make your relationship work? What goals do you have as a couple? What changes do you want to see in your relationship? How do you plan to make these changes occur? What obstacles to do you anticipate? How do you plan to handle those obstacles?
Your couple’s counselor may also ask you both to explain your expectations when it comes to the counseling process. What is your perception of counseling? What do expect to happen during counseling sessions? What role do you think your couple’s counselor should play during counseling? What do you expect from yourself and your partner during the counseling process? What is your desired outcome at the end of counseling?
During counseling, your couple’s counselor may ask the status of your relationship. In other words, he or she may ask you individually and/or together how you perceive your relationship. Do you have a happy relationship? Are you satisfied in your relationship? Are there areas of improvement within your relationship? Are you 100% committed to your relationship? Are your faithful to your partner? What is your relationship history with one another? Do you have a history of breaking up and getting back together? Do you feel comfortable and fulfilled in the relationship? Are you together or separated? Do you see yourself together in the future? Is marriage in the future?
In order to get better idea of you and your partner’s physical, emotional, and/or mental states, your couple’s counselor may ask about your medical history. These questions are asked to help your counselor better understand the dynamics of your union, so that he or she can help you figure out ways to repair your relationship. In addition, certain medical conditions can cause mood swings, anxiety, and/or depression, so it is imperative that you let your counselor know your complete medical history.
Your counselor will teach you effective communication, problem-solving, and coping skills that will help you better manage your condition. Do you have a history of mental history? Do you have a family history of mental illness or psychological disorders? Do you have any health conditions (i.e. diabetes, lupus, Crohn’s disease, etc.)? Are you on any prescription medications? What over-the-counter, supplements, and/or illegal substances are you taking? Are you depressed, stressed, and/or anxious?
It is true that children can place considerable strain on a relationship, especially if you do not have effective coping and problem-solving skills. Your couple’s counselor can teach you those skills so that you are a more effective parent and partner. Your counselor may ask you and your partner questions like: “How old are your children? What are your children’s personalities and temperaments? Are you overwhelmed with parenting responsibilities?
How do you rate yourself as a parent and partner? Do you need or want to improve your parenting skills? Do you have a healthy relationship with your children? What brings you the most joy when it comes to your children and what frustrates you the most? Are you and your partner able to successfully work together to parent your children? How is your communication with each other? Do you feel like your partner is fulfilling his or her parenting responsibilities and, if not, how does that make you feel?
Dr. R. Y. Langham
Good Therapy. (2014). Couples and marriage counseling. Retrieved from http://www.goodtherapy.org/marriage-counseling.html
Mayo Clinic. (2014). Marriage counseling. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/marriage-counseling/basics/definition/prc-20012741