Effective couples counseling is a three-lane highway. It takes cooperation by each person; you, your partner, and the counselor or therapist. It also takes a commitment to change your thinking patterns, and possibly even your behavior. What you can expect to achieve by going to couples counseling is help and suggestions in pinpointing where your problems lie and how to work through them for a lasting relationship. When seeking a couples’ counselor, look for a licensed therapist who:
- Really understands your pain and concerns. Does their website show that they understand the unique struggles to being partnered? Do you get the feeling they truly can understand you and your concerns?
- Specializes in couples’ counseling. All therapists are trained to help people with their emotional struggles, but couples counseling is not like individual counseling. In couples counseling, the relationship is actually the client (you and your partner). You want a therapist who can see each partner’s point of view, while helping the relationship.
- Helps couples as at least 75 percent of his or her caseload. Working successfully with couples takes practice, training, and temperament. Just like the best cooks or the best golfers are people who are passionate about their craft, couples therapists are usually the people who work day in and day out with couples, healing relationships.
- Does not take sides as a rule. If you are like most people, you want to be right. It is easy to blame your partner for your unhappiness. Good couples counseling involves supporting you, individually, while identifying the part that each person has in the relationship struggle. Good couples counseling helps you find simple ways to perform actions to improve your relationship.
- Is active in session. Some therapists let the clients guide the session. While there certainly is a place for that, it is important in couples counseling that you learn new skills rather than have the same argument, session after session, where the therapist acts as the referee. This means going beyond the problem and actively helping you solve it. Our goal at the OC Relationship Center is that you leave each week with a new understanding, a new skill, or a new homework assignment to practice new skills.
- Cares about results. In individual therapy, the goal is often to help people feel better and get along better in their lives and in their relationships. In couples therapy, the goal is to see how the couple can improve their interaction, gain trust, and heal the relationship. A great couples counselor checks in with you regularly, ideally each session, to make sure that you feel respected and that the counseling approach is working for you.
- Simply makes sense. Of course you want a therapist who is skilled in couples therapy and can compassionately hear you and help you understand yourself and your partner. At the same time, you want a therapist who speaks in a way that you can understand and really, really “gets you”.
- Clearly loves his or her work. You can see it in their smile and in their response to you. You can see it in the way they carry themselves and in their presence in general.
If you are considering couples counseling, let the counselors at Orange County Relationship Center help you. Call us today at 949-393-8662 or book your appointment via our online calendar.