How to Prepare for Couples Therapy
Going to couples therapy is a big deal. You are drawing a line and putting a stake in the ground in order to make your life and your relationship better. You are choosing to respond to your partner in-person; as opposed to talking about them in individual therapy when they are not around. And likewise, your partner is doing the same. This setting provides an environment to make great strides to overcome complicated issues. But you have to be prepared in order to become the next success story.
Don’t wait too long
Many couples will wait and let a marital issue fester for many years. The longer the wait the more difficult it is to make amends and restore the relationship. But, as the saying goes, “it’s never too late to try.” And that applies to couples therapy. No matter the situation, it is worth a serious try no matter how long an issue has been present.
Do some soul-searching
Therapy will only work if the those involved have a desire to reach a solution. If there is no desire to fix a relationship, your therapy sessions will be time wasted. If there is a will to fight for the relationship, even when it is painful, even when there are challenges, and even when you are uncomfortable, there is a greater likelihood for success.
Couples therapy will be difficult and one must be adequately prepared for that. If all parties are in the proper state of mind and have arrived with a desire to make progress, therapy will be the start of a new beginning.
Find a good counselor
Do your homework and find a good counselor. Interview three or four (more if needed) before making a decision. Couples therapy is always a journey. A journey that may take a long time and a journey that you are taking together. Finding a counselor whom everyone trusts is the basis for successful therapy sessions. Once trust is established, the counselor can more easily communicate the road path toward success. If a hasty decision is made when selecting a counselor, that will lead to valuable time lost. Spending weeks attending counseling sessions before the realization that the counselor is not the right fit will just add more frustration to an already tenuous situation. Take a little extra time upfront to find someone good. Make sure that both you and your spouse are happy and comfortable with the selection. Then communicate openly so the counselor and provide their services to the best of their ability.
Ask your counselor about their view on marriage
Although you will ultimately have the final decision to stay in or leave your relationship, your counselor will play a significant role along the way. The counselor carries a significant amount of influence in the couples therapy process. And some counselors may be predisposed to have a bias either for or against marriage.
Find a counselor who shares the same bias as you. Your therapy session will have a significant impact on your life, so make sure the person you choose to perform the counseling, is one to whom you are aligned. Additionally, if you find out that the counselor’s bias is contrary to yours, it will feel like you are fighting an uphill battle. Get everyone aligned from the start so that the process has the greatest chance for success.
Talk with your friends
Your friends will play a critical role while you are attending couples therapy. And ultimately, they will have a significant influence on your experience. As a sounding board outside of your therapy sessions you will want your friends to be supportive, and sometimes that means respecting your privacy. It may not be helpful to hear your friends opinion and why you may be better off without your partner. Because regardless of the outcome of therapy, your friends will not be there to warm the bed at night when therapy is complete.
Therapy is always an option
Even if 98% of you wants to end the relationship, that means that there is still a possibility of change that can come as a result of a good therapist. Intervention by an outside source can work wonders. As long as you and your partner are open to the process and new outcomes, it is worthwhile to go to therapy and give your relationship a chance to be healed.
Couples therapy is a process. The more you and your partner are willing to give to the process, the more that you will get out of it. Take the time to adequately prepare as you invest in your most valued relationship. Doing the work beforehand will make the process much more enjoyable and lead to a better outcome.
DeYoung, D. (2017). How to Prepare for Couples Therapy. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 22, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/how-to-prepare-for-couples-therapy/