Frequently Asked Questions About Couples/Marriage Counseling

What is Couples Counseling?

Couples counseling is a process where you and your partner want to learn how to resolve conflict, improve communication, and develop physical and emotional intimacy. Throughout this process, you want to move past blaming each other so that you can understand each other’s subjective realities and see the relationship more objectively so that you can deepen the connection.

At What Point Do I Seek Couples Counseling?

When you are having the same fights over and over again, you’re stuck in a negative pattern. The longer the pattern sets in, the harder it is to come out of it, so it’s best to start the process early so resentment doesn’t grow and take on a life of its own.

How Do I know If We Can Work Through Our Issues, and If We Have a Good Chance of Staying Together?

It is critical to be committed to each other. Couples counseling is hard work, and you both need to know that you want to be in the relationship. I have seen couples over the years with major issues, but their commitment was so strong that they were able to work through the process and stay together.

What Can I Expect from Marriage Counseling and What is the Process? 

I want to take you through what I call the couples roadmap. Every couple is unique, but the effective approach is the same. So the three-part process is build, connect, and breakthroughs.

Build:

First, you want to build. This is when you acknowledge that you want to be in the relationship. You and your partner are fully committed. You start by understanding your partner’s subjective reality, their perspective, and you want to become more vulnerable with your partner so that you can start to feel safe with each other. We help you to see the cycle that you’re in. What is your dance together? What are the underlying issues that are creating these negative reactions towards each other? What is the disconnect? We want to help you see this subjectively.

Connect:

Next is connect. This is when you’re starting to develop more empathy for your partner. You’re starting to take more ownership over issues that are agitating the relationship. You are growing more conscious in your relationship and as a result you’re starting to experience more positive shifts.

Breakthroughs:

Then there are the breakthroughs. This is when we start identifying and introspecting on our own deeper issues and why they’re negatively affecting the relationship. This is when we start to work on a deeper level on our own triggers. In this phase, we’re coming out of being stuck and accepting our partner for who they are. This process is all about regressing and learning new levels of comfort together as we evolve. It’s about one step forward, two steps back, two steps forward, one step back until we learn new healthier ways of being together.

How Long Does Couples Counseling Take to Work?

There’s no quick fix when dealing with human emotions. It usually takes about three months until you start to feel positive shifts in your relationship. The process itself is healing.

Will the Couples Counselor Take Sides:

As a couples counselor, it is our job to be nonjudgmental and objective. Taking sides can hurt the relationship. We are only on the side of the relationship. Rather than assign blame, we encourage honesty, empathy, communication, and fairness.

What if My Partner Doesn’t Want to Come to Counseling?

It is not uncommon for one partner to be uninterested in couples counseling. But counseling can be effective even if one partner participates. As you work on your own issues and reactions in individual sessions, the changes you make can impact the relationship. The change in growth that results from therapy can help you present your best self to your partner, which can help move the relationship forward. Often, when one person in the relationship shifts their tone and approach to interactions in the relationship, the overall tone of the relationship can shift as well, which can then also encourage the other partner to be interested in making changes, too.

What if I am ambivalent about my Relationship?

Couples counseling is a good venue to start to see your partner more objectively and see how the relationship can move forward. Sometimes couples realize through the process that the relationship isn’t right. In such cases, we help these couples separate amicably. Regardless of whether you and your partner decide to stay in the relationship, each partner can experience the benefits of counseling and apply the lessons learned to their own lives and future relationships.