This pertains more to men than women: in many instances, there’s something worse than the fights. Worse the disconnect, the ‘this isn’t working.’
Can you guess what it is?
Thoughts of having to discuss the gory painful details of your relationship with a stranger. Yuck!
Often, one party wants couples counseling and the other is hesitant: it’s our business. We’ll figure it out.
The truth of the matter is couples that skip out on counseling miss a profound opportunity.
Let’s look at some facts:
- According to the APA, between 40% and 50% of first marriages in the USA end up in divorce.
- The success rate of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th marriages are even more bleak; the success rate dips lower and lower with each one.
- Couples who undergo counseling have a 70% chance of saving their relationship, however…
…in order to be a couples counseling success story, there are a few things you need to know.
When a relationship or marriage is suffering there’s often a lot at stake, and we want to ensure two things:
- you know exactly what to look for on your search for a couple’s counselor.
- you are empowered with the knowledge of what you need to actually do in order to get the most out of your sessions.
What is Couples Counseling?
Let’s start off by listing what it’s not. Couples counseling is not a place to bash your partner, to lay out all the grievances and discuss what’s wrong, ad nauseam.
It is a productive and proactive place. Both parties are supported. No one is ostracized or villainized, and there’s emphasis placed on understanding and working through some of the past hurts and transgressions.
Couples counseling aims to uncover and connect with needs by establishing real honest communication. One of the biggest benefits of couples counseling – regardless of the outcome – is learning healthy ways to communicate.
And in cases where the gap between you and your partner is too wide and a decision is made to part ways, couples counseling provides an opportunity for introspection.
It peels back the curtain on what you need in a relationship, and gives you an opportunity to get to know yourself better. So, when it comes time to find a future partner, you have a much better idea of what to look for.
What Makes a Good Couples Counselor?
One of the main things to seek in a couple’s counselor is trust. That’s a given – if you and your partner don’t trust them, you’ll be less likely to open up.
Beyond that, here’s the additional criteria that separates a good couple’s counselor from all the rest.
A Good Couples Counselor Specializes in Seeing Couples
It makes total sense, right? It’s vital you find a therapist who’s competent working with couples, and is able to create a space where both get an equal opportunity to be heard.
A Good Couples Counselor Uses Clear, Evidence-Based Approaches
As you begin your search, be sure to ask potential candidates what modalities or framework they use.
For example, at the Relationship Therapy Center, our go-to couples’ treatment approach is the Gottman Method.
Dr. John Gottman spent decades studying relationships. Through all the data he amassed, he began noticing similar detrimental relationship patterns. To combat the things adversely affecting and ending relationships, he established a thorough comprehensive framework – an antidote – that many couples’ counselors use today, with excellent results.
We stick to this method because we see the best outcomes through this approach. And we’re not alone… countless studies laud its efficacy.
According to the NIH, “Findings revealed that Gottman’s couple therapy approach had positive effects on improving marital adjustment (P = 0/001) and couples’ intimacy (P = 0/001). Furthermore, the results of assessments in the follow-up period indicated that Gottman’s couple therapy had enduring effects on marital adjustment and couples’ intimacy.”
A Good Couples Counselor Brings Structure to the Sessions
When looking into couple’s counseling, it’s a good idea to ask the therapist what their protocol is. Sessions that are structured and future-focused have a higher success rate.
A Good Couples Counselor Remains Neutral, and Ensures Both Parties are Safe and Heard
Couples counseling requires vulnerability, and it is vital that the atmosphere be safe, free of yelling, name calling, and nasty accusations. A good couple’s counselor will not side with either party, and will retain control of the sessions.
How Should I Show Up in Couples Counseling?
Of course, a therapist can be the best therapist in the world, but if the clients aren’t following their advice, what’s the point? To get the most out of couples counseling, the simplest answer is, participate. Be open, honest, and present.
Part of the therapeutic process involves deepening your connection and level of trust with yourself, and vulnerability is required. It’s not a sign of weakness.
Many people reenact unhealthy relationship dynamics learned as kids, and often there’s a lot of pain and hurt surrounding these patterns. Some benefit from having an individual therapist as well as a couple’s counselor – this really helps – especially when there’s trauma involved.
Show up and be present. If you’re given homework, do it. It’s challenging; it may feel awkward or painful at times, and can be really, really hard. But it’s worth it.
What is the Success Rate of Couples Counseling?
Perhaps the biggest question is, does couples counseling actually work?
Studies show that roughly 70% of couples stay together after counseling, and many have a better relationship because of the time they took to understand themselves and each other.
But… there’s another perk to couples counseling that a lot of people don’t consider. Regardless of the outcome, it’s a chance to get to know yourself better – what your needs in a relationship are and how best to communicate them – and establish a healthy path forward.
When there are children involved and a couple decides to separate, creating boundaries and healthy communication is of utmost importance, period. Learning and implementing this skill is a big part of marriage counseling.
If your relationship is suffering, we’d love to help. We offer couples counseling in Roseville and Fair Oaks and are here for you. If you need support, we’re just a call (or text!) away.
Therapy in Roseville, CA, Fair Oaks, CA, or Online in California:
If you are ready to change your life for the better, we can help. To begin therapy at our Sacramento area locations or online, follow these steps:
- Contact the Relationship Therapy Center and schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation to learn more.
- Meet with one of our talented therapists
Services Offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:
Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Couples Counseling, Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include, anxiety treatment, therapy for children, teen therapy, depression treatment, and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones.