Society sometimes fills us with the belief that the right partner will fulfil our every need and then we feel lacking when this doesn’t turn out to be the case. Couples counselling can be an opportunity to identify what your needs are individually You can then work together to understand how and if they can be met within the relationship.
So what are some signs that you could benefit from couples counselling?
1. One of both of you has medical, mental health or addiction issues
When one part of the partnership is struggling, it’s no surprise that the relationship can start to show cracks. Roles can change and resentment and weariness can set in. Counselling can help acknowledge what’s happening and how it feels for both sides, so that each party’s needs can be met.
2. You’ve just become parents together, or one has become a step-parent
Parenting brings up a whole load of wonderment and woes. More pressure, less resources, new roles. It’s a really good opportunity to check in with how each party is going and build a new relationship in recognition of the new roles. Step-parenting can bring up a whole heap of feelings and tricky situations to navigate and can be hard to work through without the support of an outside party.
3. There’s been infidelity or a breakdown of trust
An affair is often a strong signal that there’s something not quite working. Couples that use this as an opportunity to work through the hurt and build up the trust can often build a stronger and more fulfilling relationship. Choosing to stay together after an affair without the support of a counsellor can be difficult and result in ongoing toxicity and damage occurring.
4. You find it hard to see anything good about your partner
This can happen from time to time in a relationship, but if it becomes a habit, counselling is definitely a good idea. A lot can be going on here. There can be unprocessed resentment building in strength. This can be a projection of your own self-loathing or it can be a sign that there needs to be more fun and connection in your relationship. Of course, there is also the possibility that it means that your relationship is coming to an end but often that is not the case if you don’t want it to be.
5. Someone’s not getting enough
Different sex drives or desires can be a big problem in relationships and can cause lots of conflict and fights. In different sex relationships, the reality is that men and women tend to view sex differently. Women tend to need connection to want to have sex and men tend to have sex to feel connected. You can see where the problems start! Factor in issues like child birth and rearing, financial pressures, general stress and anxiety, and so on. Sex can easily be impacted and can become an issue that’s hard to work through without help.
6. You’re feeling lonely
When a partner’s response to stress is to disconnect, it can leave you feeling very lonely. Chances are though your partner is feeling just as lonely but just can’t connect in. Without support, disconnection can easily feel like rejection. This can result in anger and fights, which just makes the problem worse. Couples counselling can provide a safe space to share what’s going on for each other. It can allow you to work on ways that you can connect and disconnect, without it feeling like abandonment.
7. Things are going really well!
Couples counselling can be an opportunity to check in with each other and build and deepen your connection. What better time is there to work on communicating well and effectively, than when you are actually in a good place and are receptive to it? Sadly, so many couples wait until things are really broken before they seek help. If more couples accessed counselling proactively as a maintenance and preventative measure, there would surely be less divorce rates.
8. If you have decided to separate
Couples counselling can help you split well, with kindness and respect. This is essential if children are involved as they can so easily become the innocent victims of a badly managed split. My favourite quote that supports this is ‘when a couple fails to complete properly, the fight goes on within the child’.
How does couples counselling work?
Coming into couples counselling can be a big decision for a lot of people. But it generally results in a good, short-term impact straight away. When both parties agree to show up, it speaks volumes about their shared desires to make things work. And this is sometimes where I like to start. What attracted you to each other at the start? The story of how you met. The things you appreciate about each other. The good stuff. The stuff that hasn’t probably been talked about too much at home lately.
Working from a strengths perspective and building on that, is what I find helpful with couples. Sure, you can spend the whole session raging at each other, trying to convince your therapist who is the worst. But that really doesn’t achieve much. Couples counselling is an opportunity to slow things down and do them differently.
When things need to be communicated but are not being heard, I can act as an interpreter or middle-man, to try and ensure that the communication is being received. But primarily I like couples to talk to each other with some guidelines in place, to build the connection and trust.
Couples counselling is tailored to your situation.
You may have practical exercises to try at home. and you may also have individual sessions. This can help to work through any personal stuff that is getting in the way of your relationship. Sometimes, if things have become really toxic we might start off separately and move towards coming together.
Typically couples counselling can really help couples to get back on track. The fear around it is due to the stigma and the fact that people often leave it too late to come.
Couples counselling sessions generally go for 1.5 hours and longer appointments can be arranged as needed. To find out more about my couples counselling services and to book your first session, click here.
When both parties are willing to take part in counselling there is always great hope for the relationship not just to survive but to thrive.