If you’re thinking about attending couples counselling, here are the tips on getting the most out of it and the most value for money.
Are you feeling like your relationship isn’t working, you’ve tried all you can at home but things still aren’t right?
Do you feel confused because you don’t have the answers that you need, and you know that you can’t keep sitting in this unhappy place?
If this is how you feel about your relationship, then you’re no stranger to feelings of frustration, uncertainty, helplessness and perhaps even fear about what the future will include.
You’re now thinking of going to couples counselling and want to know how you can get the most out of it. You’re smart in thinking this way…
Some couples attend couples counselling and get very little out of the experience. For example, couple A attends one or more sessions and leave saying comments like “it’s not working”, then they abandon the entire process saying “overall, therapy just doesn’t work”.
On the other hand, couple B attend the same number of sessions but find the process life and relationship changing. So, what’s the difference between couple A and B?
Some couples do things differently that ensures they get the most out of attending couples counselling.
In over two decades of couples counselling, I can say that couple B individuals aren’t more knowledgeable or smarter than those in the couple A group but they do view things differently, and as a result they commit to different behaviours. Based on seeing those differences, I’ve appreciated that…
This is what you need to do to get the most out of your couples counselling:
- Attend all counselling sessions that are scheduled for you both, not missing sessions because you’ve had an argument or you just don’t feel strong enough to attend. I’ve had some clients cancel at the last minute because they’ve had a bad day. Those are the very days that you need to attend to regain your strength and hopefulness.
- Commit to the entire process until things between you both are healthy and strong. Don’t think that one or two sessions will fix years of disagreement, misunderstanding, hurt and resentment. Those took time to implant themselves into your relationship and like so, things will take time to repair. Be patient and commit to the process.
- Stay fully present during all sessions, not letting your mind to wonder off during the time you have with your therapist. You only have a short 50-60-minute session together. It’s your money, make the most of it. As a therapist, we can sit there and waste your time and money, but a good therapist isn’t about that. For me personally my reputation is important, as is living to my values as a good therapist. Therefore, I want to offer my client the best possible outcome I can. Help us do that by staying present, or as present as possible, during sessions.
- Take as many notes during the session as possible (or as you need to). I’ve asked many people during sessions, “do you need to take notes?” (on the pad that’s provided in front of them). Many say “no”. I’ve always wondered how they can remember everything that I would like them to / or that they should remember (to get their monies worth). Anyway, that’s all up to you.
- Commit to doing the exercises or strategies, or to using the tools that your therapist has offered. You’ve paid very good money to learn things from your therapist that will make things different in your life. Believe me, I know it isn’t easy (like a spin class) but try and row the boat as much as possible.
Overall, know that getting the best out of therapy is not as easy as watching Netflix, but in the long run it will be a whole lot more fruitful and the results will be longer lasting. You will then be able to go on a live a happy, rich, full and meaningful life which is also what TV can’t really offer you.