Does Couples Counselling Really Work?
Why should we attend Couples Counselling?
Couples counselling can be very effective in helping you resolve the difficulties in your relationship, and some couples counselling is more effective than others.
The first factor that affects how effective your couples counselling is, is how well trained your therapist is in couples therapy. Relationship counselling is a very specialised field, and requires specialist training over and beyond individual therapy and psychology training.
Relationship dynamics are often at the core of why you are having problems that you can’t sort out on your own, and we need to be able to give you insight into these (in a non-blaming way) to help both of you see with new eyes the “dance” you may have inadvertently got into. This new perspective alone often clarifies and softens much of the resentment and blame you may have towards each other.
There are a number of schools of methodology in our field, and each couples counsellor will usually have their favourites, but it is always interesting to note that time and time again the research shows that no one type of their methodology always performs better then another.
The next essential ingredient in couples counselling, is the therapeutic relationship you form with your therapist. You both need to feel that your counsellor “gets” you, hears you and understands you for you to trust them and make progress as a couple.
Your therapist also needs to have had at least a few years of experience as a couples counsellor. Having experienced the full range of issues that are possible in a relationship gives your therapist a broad range of experience to help you, both in terms of often normalising what you are experiencing, which can be helpful, and knowing how to resolve your particular issues as a couple.
Good couples therapy also includes help and support for you in communicating your authentic feelings, and just as importantly, how to listen effectively. You’re not going to have a great relationship without learning these fundamentals.
How to make the most out of Couples Counselling
What do you need to bring to the counselling session to make it as effective as possible?
Firstly, you need to be able to reflect on your own behaviour and own what may be your own contributions. Most dynamics in a couple include two people interacting, so it’s true to say that mostly we all contribute in some way to what’s going on in our relationship dynamic.
Secondly, it can be helpful for you to reflect on what are the actual issues for you in your relationship at this time. Having some clarity about these can speed up the process because your therapist will be asking you about these.
And then thirdly, being willing to commit to some changes for you, to be able to action them, and follow through on them makes a huge difference to relationship improvements, and when both of you have that level of commitment, miracles can and do often happen in many of our couples.
What if one partner wants out?
There are occasions where each partner of a couple comes to counselling with differing wants from the process, for example, one partner may want to work on the relationship and the other wants to leave it.
On these occasions, we do our best to honour both needs while also exploring what deeper needs there may be, and encouraging partners to explore all possibilities before ending the relationship.
So, on these occasions, sometimes one partner in the couple may not be as happy with the outcome as the other.
But in the vast majority of cases, couples are very happy with the outcome of their couples counselling, often saying they’re feeling renewed feelings of love for their partner that they thought they had lost forever.
How do we find the right couples counsellor for us?
At the Hart Centre, we specialise in relationship, marriage and couples counselling. We understand that every couple’s dynamic is unique, and our couples counsellors, therapists and psychologists specialise in all aspects of relationship issues that may arise. Our expert couples counsellors are located in Melbourne, Canberra, Perth, Wodonga, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Hobart, Sunshine Coast, Townsville, Sydney, Adelaide, Wollongong, Mittagong and Central Coast. Contact us today on 1300 830 552 to book today, or fill out our enquiry form online.