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If you’re contemplating marriage counselling and you’re wondering if it actually works… here’s what you really need to know.
Are you feeling that your marriage is no longer making you happy? Have you tried to fix things on your own but find that nothing seems to change, and you’re tired of sitting in this same place?
If your marriage isn’t working, you’ll be feeling like you’re living on an emotional roller-coaster. You can’t understand why your partner can’t see your perspective, no matter how hard you try and get it across. Sometimes you’ll feel exhausted from the repeated discussions, and at other times you avoid each other as communicating seems all too hard and painful.
Your faith that things can change is dwindling and now you’re wondering if getting a third party professional involved will help, but you need to know…
Does marriage counselling actually work?
The short answer to this is… yes it does however in my view your level of success will be based on a number of things. Here’s what you need to consider:
- Check your level of motivation and openness to change. Counselling will more than likely, require both you and your partner to change a few things you are doing. You’ll be invited to consider different perspectives, to try and see the other person’s viewpoint, and to change the way you are currently communicating.
It won’t be as hard as you think but you will have to be open and committed to rowing the therapy boat. Your therapist will support and guide you all the way so you won’t feel lost at any time.
- Assess your partner’s willingness to attend sessions and fully engage in the process. Depending on what the issues relate to, sometimes marriage counselling can be successful involving just one party. However, in my experience the attendance and commitment of both creates longer lasting change and prevents relapse from occurring.
- Marriage counselling sessions are usually only 50 or 60 minutes, sometimes 90 minutes, so it’s important that if you are given any strategies to think about or exercises to complete in between sessions that you both actually do them.
These won’t be difficult but learning to do things differently does require practice. This is the part your therapist can’t do for you.
- Make as many notes throughout the session as possible so you remember the content. As therapists, we don’t mind revisiting strategies that were covered in earlier sessions but it will be better value for money for you if that doesn’t happen regularly.
- Finally, understand that it probably took some time for the relationship to get into the state that it’s in now. Therefore things aren’t likely to be totally resolved in one or two therapy sessions. Be patient and have faith in the process.