What do couples do in couples counseling? Instead of focusing on fighting less, it is helpful for couples to focus on better communication when disagreements arise during the course of a relationship. Be an active listener: truly listen to what your partner has to say and give them the space to speak their mind. While in the heat of the moment, it can be challenging to be objective, but learning how to discuss thoughts and feelings is an invaluable foundation for a healthier relationship. Counseling with couples therapists can help create this foundation.
Stick To Emotional Issues That Are Present
It can be difficult to not make a mountain out of a molehill. When a disagreement arises, think about the current situation and its underlying cause. Don’t bring in irrelevant information that could cause an even bigger fight. Be fair, and try not to guilt trip by bringing up past arguments. Refrain from saying things like “You always do this” or “This happened every time before.”
Find Areas Of Healthy Agreement
While agreeing simply for the sake of avoiding an argument is not always a great strategy, identifying a place where you agree in the midst of an argument can be helpful and constructive. For example, let’s say a couple disagrees on whether their young daughter should be home schooled. Instead of either arguing or “agreeing to disagree”, one partner could say, “I know we both value education and want what is best for our child. Now let’s create a pros and cons list of each option so we can figure out the best solution”. Acknowledging an area of agreement creates a sense of alliance, which makes finding a compromise more likely during the partner’s conversations together.
Step Into Your Partner’s Shoes
Assess your values, thoughts, beliefs, and other integral parts of yourself. Where do they match up with your partner’s, and where are they different? Different values could be the real cause of your argument—it helps to understand that. Or you might recognize that the real cause of an argument is your partner feeling they have less control than you do, which made them pick a fight. Although controlling other people is not a healthy way to operate, trying to understand the argument from the other person’s perspective will help you approach the situation with empathy.
“A licensed therapist will help you not only solve your immediate relationship issue, but also create long-lasting solutions that will aid in both partners’ communication, interaction, and displays of love throughout your relationship.”
Can counseling with your partner make things worse? Two people will not see eye to eye on everything. Once you’re able to accept that, you’ll also be able to move past previous arguments. Couples therapy can help you reach this point. It should not make things worse, but it may help propel you to uncomfortable growth.
Contrary to popular belief, people don’t usually get upset for no reason. If your partner is coming across as angry or upset and you can’t figure out why, there’s likely some sort of internal conflict going on. Maybe they had a bad day at work. Maybe there is conflict that you’re not aware of with friends or family members. Maybe they’re battling a mental health issue such as depression or anxiety — you never know.
The point here is that rather than assuming that your partner’s behavior is irrational, you should do your best to identify what might be causing it. The most effective way to do this might be to make time to talk about it during a session.
How Does Relationship Therapy Work?
Couple’s therapy can help two people learn the above strategies and more. According to Psychology Today, for couple’s therapy to work, both individuals must be committed to improving their relationship while also acknowledging their individual strengths and weaknesses. Recognizing one’s own difficult habits is as important as identifying what about your partner drives you crazy. What kind of therapist is best for couples? Couples therapy isn’t a place for one partner to unload anger, resentment, or damaging behaviors on the other. It aims to unlock solutions based on love and dedication — and the willingness to work toward a healthy relationship. How soon is too soon to begin seeing a therapist together? If you feel like your relationship would be supported by outside help, it’s never too soon to consider therapy. Couples therapy can help you two understand how to communicate with one another to resolve conflicts and better understand one another. Maybe you and your partner have cultural differences that have not been discussed or are working through the after effects of infidelity. Couples therapy can provide the clinical experience setting that may be needed to discuss these issues openly and determine next steps in your relationship.
Can a boyfriend and girlfriend attend live sessions together? Couples therapy is not just for married people — couples therapy can help anyone in a relationship. A couples therapist may observe a couple’s relationship and provide them with insight into both their shared and individual strengths and weaknesses. They may also act as a neutral mediator, giving advice to both partners. Finally, behavioral couples therapy may teach the couple more effective ways to interact and communicate, and brainstorm with the couple about ways they can show their love and support for each other even while dealing with conflict. Research shows that online relationship sessions can be a powerful tool in addressing relationship issues and strengthening relationships.
You may read the full study here: Marriage: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Web-Based OurRelationship Program: Effects on Relationship and Individual Functioning