What Is Couples Counseling and What to Expect from the Process

couples counseling therapy sign

Couples counseling is the process during which the members of a couple together attend therapy sessions with a counselor trained and experienced in helping couples cope with their emotional issues to find solutions for their problems. The therapy sessions usually take place in the counselor’s office, in a neutral environment that facilitates calm and proactive communication with the aim of verbalizing previously concealed problems and to seek solutions.

What to Expect of Couples Counseling?

The principal aim of couples counseling is to reveal and to solve the problems that the members of the couple don’t seem to be able to solve on their own. Each partner will get equal time to talk about their feelings and problems as well as to react to the feelings and the problems brought up by the other partner.

According to therapist Westminster health and wellness providers, the process usually starts with seemingly simple questions – the counselor will ask the couple to speak about what has made them seek counseling as well as about their relationship history. Depending on the depth of the problems that affect the relationship, the first few visits will mostly deal with these questions, that’s why most couples experience this initial phase as uncomfortable, rather than efficient and comforting. It is also a period when lots of hidden things can come to light, such as episodes when one of the partners felt hurt or offended, but decided not to talk about it for fear of being laughed at.

The next phase following the identification of the problems is the process of finding solutions and replacing dysfunctional behavior with communication strategies that bring the couple together again. The aim of this phase is to teach the couple how to deal with potential problems in a cooperative, understanding and gentle way in the future, how not to hurt each other’s feelings and how to restore trust.

The Final Outcome

There is no way to provide an accurate forecast of the outcome of the counseling process. In some cases, the therapeutic process helps the couple strengthen their relationship and work through their problems, while in other cases, it helps the couple realize that they no longer belong together and the best solution for both of them is to go their separate ways.

There is no way to tell in advance how long the therapy will need to continue, either. Some couples can experience the positive effects of the process after a few sessions, others might need months, maybe even years to restore their relationship or to make the final decision to move on with their lives separately.

Either way, couples counseling is beneficial not only for the couple’s relationship to each other, but also for the members of the couple individually by revealing dysfunctional communication methods or disruptive behavior. If the couple decide to stay together after the therapy, they are more likely to do so in a cooperative and loving way; if they decide to break up, they can benefit from increased self-awareness that can help them avoid making the same mistakes in the future, in their next relationship.