Marriage Counselling What To Expect

Marriage counsellingWhat to expect when seeing a marriage counsellor

Marriage counselling provides an environment where both you and your partner can take some time out from the pressures and demands of everyday life to talk and reflect upon your situation and start to see things with a fresh perspective.

Talking with a marriage counsellor gives you both the chance to think and talk about what you want and need to do to improve your current situation and relationship problems.

It can also give you a chance to explore difficult and sensitive issues in a safe and confidential environment.

Marriage counselling helping relationship problems

Do any of the following sound familiar?

“It just feels like I’m banging my head against a brick wall”
“Every time we talk about things it just turns into a slanging match”
“What’s the point of talking anymore…there’s nothing left to say”
“I don’t dare talk about things anymore, it just make things worse”
“We just seem to want different things in life now”

Safe to say we’ve probably all experienced feelings like this at some time and with the intensity and closeness which relationships do bring it’s healthy to accept that we are likely to go through these scenarios at times. It’s about how we work through them. That’s where a trained marriage counsellor can help to bring clarity. In fact, it can never be too early in a relationship to introduce that platform for open, non-judgmental discussion. Unfortunately, more often than not, marriage counselling is considered the final option – years down the line of arguments and difficulties where high levels of resentment have built up.

Marriage counselling will always work best when both parties attend but if your partner refuses to be involved it can and will be beneficial to attend on your own. It can help to try to understand why your partner is resisting – fear of failure, embarrassment, previous experience – and try to talk and work through this. Sometimes a partner may come to counselling once you’ve attended a couple of sessions and can share the benefits you are experiencing.

Marriage counsellors work in different ways and with different approaches – psychodynamic, behavioural, humanistic, eclectic – so when you first make contact with a prospective counsellor ask them to explain how they work. Whatever their approach, what you will experience is an opportunity to explore your situation, the nature of your problems, their history and what changes you hope to make. You will begin to understand your situation, the problems within it and the barriers to overcoming the challenges. Once this has been done you can begin to agree how you both want things to be and how you can work together to achieve this.

Often, couples may find the solutions are right in front of them and that is where counselling can be, and so often is effective. It provides the opportunity to talk, think, and reflect with someone who won’t judge and will encourage your thoughts and opinions.

Can marriage counselling actually help resolve relationship problems?

It’s difficult to quantify the success but there is no doubt that as a profession it is growing and the demand is increasing. Relate is the best know marriage counselling service within the UK and they continue to grow and develop their service. They have offices throughout the UK which you can contact without any obligation. Alternatively, many counsellors in private practice have extensive experience in marriage counselling. These can be found on trusted directories and national registers of qualified counsellors.

In the meantime, when you next need to have that tricky conversation with you partner, start the discussion amicably.
–  Give yourself some time out so you don’t start with an angry tone.
–  Try to understand why your partner reacts in the way that they do, what is going on ‘under the surface’ to drive this behaviour
–  Respect your partner’s views, however annoyed you may be feeling and try to take a partnership approach to the problem
–  Take responsibility for your own reactions and emotions. Why you are so upset?
–  What is driving this behaviour in you and how might it be contributing to the situation
–  Keep an awareness of your physical feelings, knotted stomach, tears, increased heart beat
–  If you need to, take some time out, leave the room, give yourself the time to calm down
–  Above all, be prepared to compromise
–  Understand what you both want, realise this may not be wholly achievable & talk, as a partnership, about how you may come to the best solution

Article Submitted By

Jerry Grafton, GoToSee Journalist

Date Published
08/05/08

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