When people think of dating, marriage, and romantic relationships they usually think of things that make them happy. Their mind is filled with thoughts of enjoying time together, participating in activities together, dancing, dinners, and gifts. You imagine that when you are with the "right person" everything will be wonderful, but relationships aren't always like that. Not only do all relationships face their share of difficulties, but sometimes people find themselves in the middle of a relationship crisis. This leaves them wondering, "How do I find couples counseling near me?"
Sometimes in a relationship, something happens that lets you know right away that your relationship is in crisis. For example, if you find out that your significant other had an affair, there's no doubt that your relationship is in crisis. However, there are also times when things aren't great, but people aren't sure if it's a problem or not. After all, everyone says that relationships are hard so it can be difficult to tell if you are experiencing real problems or normal struggles.
Here Are Some Signs That Your Relationship Problems Are Something That Needs to Be Addressed:
If you know that your relationship is in crisis, you have three options. The first is to simply stay in the relationship without making any changes and just deal with it. The second option is to call it quits and just throw in the towel. The third option is to seek help, such as couples counseling, to work on improving your relationship.
If your relationship has been hit with a crisis or if you have reached an impasse where things just don't seem to improve then you might want to give couples counseling a try.
How Couples Counseling Can Help
When you meet with a licensed therapist for couples counseling, they will help you get to the underlying issues in your relationship. Many couples tend to fight about surface problems without ever truly getting to the real issue in their relationship. This means no matter how much they argue they are never solving any problems. A therapist is trained in helping sort through the surface problems to find out where the real problem lies.
Therapists also help you spot breakdowns that you have in communication. Sometimes problems in a marriage can start to be solved simply by improving the communication skills between the couple. Other times the therapist can help the couple determine where boundaries need to be set in their lives. It could be setting boundaries with their parents, spouses, friends, or employers.
Therapists are often able to help a couple that has experienced larger problems like broken trust by helping them work to a place of forgiveness so they can start rebuilding trust with each other.
Sometimes the problems that couples have within their relationship stem from situations or experiences that one or both individuals experienced in their past. This could be situations like bad relationships with their parents or having been abused. Therapists can help people to identify these situations and work through their processing their feelings, so they don't bring past problems into a current relationship.
These are just some of the ways that therapists can help couples.
If you have decided to give counseling a try, there are several options you can consider. There are some nonprofits and religious organizations that offer couples counseling. One of the advantages of this is that they are often more affordable. However, the individuals performing the counseling might not be licensed and specially trained in relationship counseling. Therefore, you may want to consider another option.
Licensed therapists are a popular option for couples counseling. Many therapists offer both individual and couples counseling. You can find a therapist with a simple online search. However, you want to make sure to check the reviews and credentials for any therapist you will work with.
Another option is to consider online counseling or telecounseling. These services allow you to communicate with a licensed therapist without having to leave the comfort of your home. Many times these services are also more affordable than going to counseling in person.
What to Look For In A Counselor
It's important that you gather all the facts before deciding what options to choose from couples counseling. Some of the things that you should look for in a counselor include:
Remember to trust your gut. If your gut is telling you something's not quite right, then finding another therapist.
If your relationship is in crisis, then it's time to start looking for a couple's counselor. You can search for someone in your local area. You'll want it to be someone easy for both you and your significant other to get to for appointments, or you can find a service online like BetterHelp, that allow you to meet from anywhere you can connect to the internet. There are some advantages to online counseling such as the convenience of location and sometimes a lower price.
When looking for a counselor, it's helpful to talk to a few first. This will give you a good idea of who you might be comfortable working with. Remember, that counseling is not an immediate fix when your relationship is in crisis. Counseling requires a commitment to attend and follow through with the work.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the success rate of couples counseling?
Although there isn’t a definitive number on the success rate of couples counseling, couples counseling has been shown to improve communication and relationship satisfaction. A number of areas can be addressed in couples counseling, such as trust issues and poor communication. Individual issues like depression and anxiety can also be a part of couples therapy. Couples will learn techniques for conflict resolution and how to communicate clearly. Overall, couples or marriage counselors can help to improve relationships, especially if couples come in early even before the first sign of trouble.
Even if couples have been together for years, counseling can still be of great benefit. Seeing a marriage counselor can help the marriage and by extension even the family, if the couple has children.
How can I get free couples counseling?
Some nonprofit organizations or churches might provide free or income-based couples counseling. You can go to 211.org to see what local resources are available for you and your partner. You might even find support groups that focus on couples counseling.
What is the best therapy for couples?
There are different therapeutic approaches to couples counseling. When you and your partner meet with a therapist or even before the first session, ask what therapeutic approach the therapist practices. They might respond with one approach or a mix of approaches. Some of those approaches are the Gottman Method, Narrative Therapy, Imago Relationship Therapy, Relational Life Therapy, and Emotionally Focused Therapy.
How do I find a couples counselor?
You can search your local area for a couples counselor, or if you have health insurance, see who is covered under your plan. You can also do an internet search. You can even ask your friends and family, if you don’t mind them knowing that your marriage needs a little help, if they can give you a recommendation. To narrow your search, therapists need to be licensed and have education, training, and experience in marriage/couples counseling.
What is the difference between marriage counseling and couples therapy?
Marriage counseling is for people who are married, while couples therapy is for people who are not married. Marriage or marital and couples therapy both deal with relationship issues as a whole and issues and life experiences each individual brings into the relationship.
What is the Gottman Method?
The Gottman Method, developed by Drs. Julie and John Gottman, is composed of 3 components: assessment, therapeutic framework and therapeutic interventions. Based on these three, the couple and therapist move forward to work on issues specific to the couple. In general, though, some areas couples will work on are effective communication, past hurts, managing conflicts rather working toward conflict resolution and trust. These areas are part of the Sound Relationship House Theory.
Can a marriage survive without intimacy?
A marriage probably cannot survive without intimacy – emotional intimacy, that is. Emotional intimacy means that each person can be emotionally vulnerable with the other person and that involves a level of trust. A marriage might survive without emotional intimacy, but it would be an unhealthy one.
Marriages can survive without sexual intimacy. Many people who are asexual find partners who are asexual or near asexual and those relationships can be just as fulfilling as those where emotional and sexual intimacy are a part of the relationship.
Is it OK for married couples to sleep in separate rooms?
Married couples can make up their own rules in their marriages. If both individuals want to sleep in separate rooms, meaning both are honest about how they feel about the arrangement and not withholding their thoughts about it to appease or disappoint the other, then sleeping in separate rooms is okay. Emotional intimacy and/or sexual intimacy are not off the table if couples sleep separately. They can work around this to have and maintain a healthy, long lasting relationship.
How many positives does it take to clear a negative?
For every negative, it takes almost 6 positives. According to the Harvard Business Review, while negative comments stick with an individual, it’s the positive comments that motivate people to do better. Although the data from the research has come under criticism, many in leadership agree that a higher ratio of positives to negatives is optimal. The researchers Emily Heaphy and Marcial Losada noted that their findings were similar to John Gottman’s of the Gottman Method. Gottman’s research on married couples has shown that the more positive comments spouses give one another, the more likely that they would remain married. Conversely, the more negative comments, the more likely couples would divorce. Gottman’s ratio was 5 positives to 1 negative.
How can I be more positive in a relationship?
If you want to be in the relationship you have with your partner and your partner also wants to be in the relationship, that’s a starting point for introducing more positivity into the relationship. Next, how motivated are you and your partner to improve the relationship? Will you both share the work required to keep a healthy relationship going or will it fall mostly to one person? If it’s the former, then you can begin now. Some ways for you to be more positive in a relationship is to comment positively on things you like about your partner. For example, do you like how devoted they are to taking care of the children or the animals in the household? Do you like that they do the dishes? Do you enjoy their sense of humor? Any positive comment that is genuine is a good starting point.
If your partner isn’t solutioned focused – committed to doing their share of working toward a healthy relationship – you can still give positive comments to see if this turns your partner around. If not, suggest couples counseling. It takes two people to make a relationship work, but if one is not present in the relationship, then it might be time to explore this individually with a trusted friend, family member, support group or therapist.
How negativity can kill a relationship?
A constant barrage of negativity will kill any relationship. If your partner is full of criticisms and offers little to no positivity about you and the relationship, that can create stress. People will manage the negativity to stay in the relationship even though they’re unhappy. They might work longer hours or get their needs met outside of the relationship, for example. They might even end up leaving the relationship. Although people might stay together despite the negativity, they are still in a relationship – just not a healthy, fulfilling one. If negativity is part of the family dynamic, seeing a family therapist might be a wise choice in learning how to deal with this behavior.
Constant negativity from a partner or anyone can be considered abusive. If this is what you’re experiencing, seek professional help to learn how to cope with this behavior while you decide what your next steps should be.
How do you know if your not happy in a relationship?
Some ways to know if you’re not happy in a relationship are complaining about your partner to other people, getting needs met outside the relationship and feeling a general unhappiness or even anxiety about the relationship. Rather than making a life-changing decision based on how you’re feeling now, it’s best to talk to someone first. That person could be a trusted friend or family member or even a therapist. It’s important to explore if maybe you’re experiencing depression or anxiety that’s not related to the relationship. Or, if there are relationship issues, how those can be addressed to save the relationship.
If there is abuse in the relationship, then seek help immediately. Keeping yourself safe is more important than staying in a relationship that is abusive and unlikely to change.
How do you stop overthinking in a relationship?
Sometimes when we’re working on a relationship, we tend to focus on it at the expense of other things in our lives. One way to manage overthinking in a relationship is to get back into the things you love to do. You won’t stop overthinking right away, but you’ll have periods of time when you’ve noticed that you haven’t even thought about your relationship. If the overthinking comes back, acknowledge it and keep moving forward with what you’re doing. Over time, this focus on you will bring the best of you back to the relationship instead of an anxiety-ridden partner who’s always worrying it.
Another way is to be in the present. Be mindful of what’s going on around you right now to keep yourself in the present rather than being all twisted up about what happened in the past or what’s in store for the future. You can also periodically check in with your partner about what your concerned about in the relationship. Open, clear communication and trusting what your partner is telling you might quell your anxious thoughts.
There’s no sure way to immediately stop overthinking. The best thing you can do for yourself is learning to manage your overthinking, which will help you work toward stopping it. Overthinking your relationship might return from time to time, but you’ll have techniques to deal with it when if it does.