If you want to improve the outcome of couples therapy, here are six things you can do to make your marriage counseling a success.
1. Set Goals For Yourself
Plan to work on yourself. Trying to change your partner is frequently ineffective. What do you want? What were your early expectations in this relationship? If you visualize the ideal relationship, what would that look like?
Today, what are your attitudes and behaviors? What keeps you from being a happier person? What can you improve? When you are stressed, how do you react? Do you try to control, nag, or complain? Do you withdraw? Fear not, your couples counselor will ensure both of you are working, not just you.
2. Be Open
Look for the feelings behind the feelings. There are frequently deeper reasons for surface feelings. Realizing why we feel the way we do can get be helpful. We might feel hopeless, helpless, or embarrassed, but why? Perhaps trust or resentment is an issue. Being more vulnerable to your partner in a safe place will create empathy and compassion.
3. Invest the Time
Couples counseling takes time and energy. Plan to spend quality time working on the relationship at home as well as in a therapy session.
4. Be Openminded
Our assumptions about the motives of our partner may not be true. Ask. Be open to changing your mind and avoid jumping to conclusions.
5. Learn Independence
Relationships can fill some of our needs but not all. Even the best marriage has moments when we feel worried, lonely, or anxious. No partner can be there for you every moment. Learn to become a complete person with activities outside the relationship.
6. Set Divorce Aside For Now
Success requires hope. Focusing on divorce is like staring into the abyss, not a cheerful prospect. Take divorce off the table and work on the relationship. Visualize the positive goals and work toward them. Work on your marriage now. Invest the best part of yourself, your time, honest feelings, and energy for the best couples therapy outcome. Make a brighter future.
Scott F. Olds, Psychotherapist
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