by: Sean Reilly, LMFT
Why Couples Counseling?
Often, the most difficult step in therapy is taking the action to begin. Therapy is joyous, fulfilling, scary, exhausting, life-changing, and one hundred other things to countless others. Sitting in a room with a relative stranger, discussing the most vulnerable aspects of your life, can feel like a daunting challenge. But is it worth it?
Much of the feedback I get as a therapist to individuals, couples, and families is, “Why didn’t I come in sooner?” This feels especially poignant when it comes to couples. There is a unique level of distress that occurs in each of us when we find ourselves in relationships that “just do not work.” There are few people in the world that can elicit the emotional highs of love and the miserable lows of rejection than our romantic partners or spouses. To steal a quote found on motivational posters across therapy offices, worldwide, “If you want something you have never had, you must do something you have never done.” The goal of couples counseling, like any counseling, is to elicit change in the most positive sense. It is finding something new by doing something new, and most importantly, we are not doing it alone.
How is Couples Counseling Different?
Couples counseling is unique in that it is relational, in nature. Many individuals come to therapy wanting to discuss the difficult relationships in their lives. Of course, they do because they recognize the powerful impact these relationships have on their emotional wellbeing. However, imagine coming to therapy, receiving positive feedback regarding your relational conflict, learning the tricks and tips to effective communication, taking these newfound strategies to your partner, only to find yourself falling back into the same old argument in same old ways. Very frustrating. Now imagine a scenario where you and your partner are learning these strategies together, inviting each other into new ways of communication that allows each other to be heard and seen. Inevitably, like in life, conversation will sour, feelings will be hurt, defenses will rise. But now you have an ally to turn to. Your couple’s counselor is your guide. That is, until you learn the map yourselves. Then your path is your own, but you are no longer walking it alone.
Like anything in life that requires openness, trust, and vulnerability, it is scary. The conclusion is unknown. There are no guarantees except this: If you are feeling hopeless in your relationship, change is necessary. Therapy = Change.
JENNIFER EULBERG, MA, LPC
Welcome Jennifer, our new blogger!
Jennifer is a counselor at Sandhill who specializes in depression, self-esteem, and grief & loss. Get to know Jennifer as she shares her perspectives on life, contemplates value themes, and offers gentle encouragement.
THANK YOU to Stefanie Pisarkiewicz, LPC for her blog contributions from November 2014 - February 2019!