Can Couples Counselling Make Your Relationship Worse?
Couples therapy and marriage counselling in Calgary have been a popular way to deal with relationship issues for years, but not all therapists are equal. If a couple, or either partner in a relationship, is unhappy, they may consider attending couples’ counselling as a way to work through their problems. Couples and marriage counselling involves both partners in the relationship, unlike individual therapy which usually only involves one partner.
Attending couples and marriage counselling can help you and your partner work out problems that you’re having together. Whether it’s a lack of intimacy or a number of other issues that are causing problems, an experienced couples therapist will be able to give you the advice and tools needed to improve your relationship.
Despite what you may see on television, couples counselling is not a magic remedy. In fact, some research indicates that couples counselling can actually make things worse. The important thing to know is that there are some types of couples therapy that do work, and other types to avoid. Choosing the right type of couples therapy is just as important as choosing the right therapist for you. Some effective forms of couples therapy are listed below:
- The Gottman Method;
- Solution-focused therapy;
- Narrative therapy;
- Emotion-focused therapy;
- Cognitive-behavioural therapy; and
- Discernment counselling.
Does Couples Therapy Get Worse Before It Gets Better?
At the beginning of marriage counselling, most couples have an optimistic attitude. They are excited that they have the opportunity to learn new ways of relating and that they have a third party playing a neutral role in the process. As you begin talking about your problems, it’s possible that these feelings can change.
Suddenly, you start feeling self-conscious and exposed. Typically at this point, couples feel a bit of a letdown. This is important to remember as you begin to evaluate whether couples counselling in Calgary will help your relationship or not. The process usually gets worse before it gets better. Don’t worry! It does get better!
Why Is Marriage Counselling So Hard?
There are few things more difficult than being married and in need of marriage counselling. Many people assume that marriage counselling is all about fixing your spouse and not about yourself. However, a marriage therapist has to look at the specific situations within each couple and evaluate who is contributing what to their issues. Marriage counselling requires two people who are ready and willing to work on the issues they are experiencing together as a couple. It’s a constantly challenging exercise in personal growth, self-awareness, tolerance, respect, and self-discipline.
The most important thing about marriage counselling (or any other counselling for that matter) is that all involved parties must be invested in, willing to participate in, and ready to accept changes that will promote greater happiness within the marital relationship as a whole.
The Couples Counselling Takeaway
Couples counselling in Calgary can be a great resource for couples who are looking to improve their relationships. There are many couples who have found that getting their relationship back on track has made a world of difference in their romantic and personal lives. Couples therapy is successful only when both spouses participate in the process and when both partners are motivated to make the changes necessary to improve their relationship.
While couples counselling can be very helpful, it isn’t magic, and it isn’t recommended that you try your hand at playing Dr. Phil at home with your partner. If you don’t see results or you see your relationship getting worse the longer you are in couples counselling — or if your partner refuses to participate — it’s probably time to talk with a therapist about other treatment options that could help you both better cope with stressors affecting your relationship and salvage what you can of your marriage.