Couples counseling can be very helpful to those wanting to get their relationships back on track. If you and your partner are struggling together – and you’re considering getting some professional assistance, that’s great! The process can and does work. However, if you’re planning on investing the time, energy and money on therapy, there are a few things you might want to be mindful of before embarking on the process.
3 mistakes couples make in relationship counseling:
- “It’s her/his fault!” Going in with the attitude that all of the problems in the relationship are the fault of the other is possibly a way you might begin but hopefully can be open to the possibility you are somehow negatively involved in the dynamic. Both partners ALWAYS play a role in some way. Avoid this mistake by being willing to hold a mirror up to yourself.
- “He/she has to change. I will not!” Similarly to how it’s problematic to go into couples counseling insistent the other is at fault, it’s equally unproductive to go into the process with a rigid unwillingness to make some changes yourself. Avoid this mistake by remaining open to the possibility of you also doing something different for the sake of the relationship.
- “Okay, we’re here…now fix us!” Putting too much responsibility on the therapist to “fix” the relationship is a common mistake and understandable when couples are desperate. But real change can only occur within the relationship, with the guidance of the therapist only. Avoid the mistake of over-reliance on the therapist by practicing what you’ve learned and experienced outside of the therapist’s office.
Be clear that just because these errors are made doesn’t mean relationship counseling can’t help you get back on track together. Some people firmly believe they have good reasons for being angry, hostile, inflexible and blaming. It may initially feel impossible NOT to blame the other and be rigid in willingness to change.
Remember this: If you’ve gone in together in the first place, you’ve taken a great first step in prioritizing your relationship.