What is it?
Couples counselling is a safe space where two people involved in a romantic relationship can have a third, non-biased person help navigate their issues and emotions. Ultimately the goal is to help them build a clearer understanding of one another and third individual and shared needs.
Why may a couple need it?
The most commonly expressed requests from couples are related to lack of communication, sexual difficulties, substance abuse issues, jealousy, illnesses, and/or an end of the relationship.
How does it work?
The first step is to have a minimum of two to four sessions to explore the couples’ challenges fully. This initial time is intended to identify the major issues, set realistic goals, analyze the counseling expectations, set up rules and boundaries, and commit to the process. If necessary, this time can also be dedicated to discussing an ongoing crisis.
After this crucial phase, the counsellor will mainly help the couple to:
- identify their differences
- share more about their childhood,
- recognize the dysfunctional family patterns they repeat in the couple,
- express their expectations, disappointments, or anything they do not feel safe or comfortable sharing at home.
The couple can learn more about what triggers them, improve intimacy and communication, get to see their partners and their pain deeply, accept differences, set boundaries, and ultimately design a shared future, either together or separately.
The last stage of the work is to prepare for the conclusion of the counselling.
It is crucial to establish how much time is necessary to navigate the specific issues because every relationship needs time to heal, strengthen, or conclude.
What is required to make it work?
It is important to share feelings about this space during the session, as this could reflect the feelings toward the relationship with the partner. It is necessary to be committed; the couple should go to the session even if they do not feel like going or feel they reached a calm state.
They can share with the counsellor how they feel and get to analyze what is happening inside. The mind can be tricky, and if the feeling of crisis has since calmed down, this does not mean that they healed.Healing is a process, never a temporary emotion and processes take time and dedication.
How will people feel after the session, and what will they learn through the process?
Sometimes people feel relieved, and sometimes they feel drained. It depends on what they have shared, reframed, heard, felt, and understood about themselves and their partner. We all need to go through hard times to heal and remove a block made of pain.The sure thing is that while people are facing unpleasant emotions, they can develop new emotional skills, activate new resources, start sharing and enjoying time as a couple or as individuals, get to know their partner and their vulnerabilities honestly, find new strategies to support the other person, and design a unique, adequate plan for the future for their relationship.