You’ve seen it in the movies. A couple has some issues, so they attend therapy to help fix their issues. The counselor asks questions, the partners share their feelings, and then everything is fixed. But the problem is, if you’ve ever experienced issues within a relationship, you probably know that nothing is quite so simple.
Modern marriage counseling and couples’ therapy has changed a great deal over the years. While the success rate was much lower in the past, today, marriage counseling contributes to happier and healthier couples. It’s the result of hard work, however. The counselor and both partners have to work together to achieve their shared desired goals.
This may beg the question — How exactly does all of this work? Today, we will take a look at marriage counseling and how it addresses conflicts and growth in marriage.
The First Marriage Counseling Session
Your first session with me, or any counselor, may be a little different than your others. You will likely need to do some preparation. Your therapist will provide some paperwork for you to fill out beforehand. They will inform you of their policies, ethics, and some legalities of your counselor-patient relationship.
Once these things are clear, your therapist will begin therapy by asking you some questions. Typically, you will talk about why you are there. You may have one reason, or many reasons, to be attending therapy.
Some couples seek therapy before marriage, called premarital counseling, to strengthen the base of their relationship, learn to handle disagreements in a healthy manner, and improve communication. Premarital counseling has demonstrated benefits, including lower divorce rates.
However, many couples seek counseling when significant issues arise that put their relationship or marriage in jeopardy. There are many possible reasons for this. Some of them include:
- Growing Apart
- Unhealthy or No Communication
- Frequent Arguments
- Money Disagreements
- Sex Life Issues
Getting to Know Both of You
Like any new relationship, your therapist will spend the first few sessions getting to know both of you. Aside from learning the reasons you are there, to begin with, they may ask questions about your past, including details of your childhood, how you met, the start of your marriage, your family, your friends, and other aspects of your personal lives.
Your therapist doesn’t just ask these questions to be nosy. It helps them get the whole picture. The more pieces of the story they can put together, the more able your counselor is to help you work toward addressing your issues and strengthening your relationship.
In addition, sometimes, bringing up the past helps put things into perspective.
Remember that your sessions are to be a safe space. It may be awkward to talk to a stranger at first, but through honesty and cooperation, you can learn to trust each other and build a relationship over time. You can be open and honest, express your emotions, and be yourself entirely.
Setting Goals For Therapy
Your therapist will work with you to set some goals for what you want to achieve. They will talk about these things with you during the initial sessions. This process requires honesty and some thoughtfulness. Some goals can change as the therapy moves along.
Some of these goals might include:
- Showing more affection
- Expressing more empathy
- Dealing with resentment and anger
- Surviving an affair
- To stop arguing as much
Your Best Days Are Ahead of You
Lisa Rogers Counseling is based in New York City. I am available for service via teletherapy in New York, California, Texas, Illinois, Vermont, Georgia, New Jersey, and Florida. I offer services in the following areas:
- Adult Therapy: Individual, marriage, couples, group and family therapy
- Child Therapy: Individual, group therapy, family therapy, social skills, play therapy
- Adolescent Therapy: Individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy
If you are struggling, you don’t have to go through it alone. Contact my office today to schedule an appointment.