Couples therapy: When is couples counseling a good idea?
Couples counseling. Is it genuinely a good idea, or just another way to prolong a relationship that doesn’t work?
Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Couples therapy comes in a variety of formats, and some solutions will work for certain partners.
The idea is that seeing a therapist will help you and your partner address the problems that harm your relationship.
A counseling professional might help you to understand where various communication issues and problems with intimacy come from. These experts can also help your partner to see your perspective in a new light and offer suggestions on how you can help each other.
So, when is the right time to pursue couples therapy?
Couples counseling: Is there ever a good time?
The most obvious answer to the question: “When is the right time for couples’ therapy?” is before you think you need it. If you’ve noticed that there’s a serious problem in your relationship, then the foundations could already be starting to crumble.
On the other hand, if you can speak to a counselor in the early stages, when you’re still just struggling with simple things like lack of communication or less intimacy in the bedroom, it’s easier to find a resolution.
Of course, it’s not always easy to tell when there’s a problem between you and your partner until it’s too late – particularly when you haven’t had a lot of healthy relationships in the past.
To help demystify the process of seeking out couples counseling, here are some signs that it might be time to get some extra help:
1. After a breach of trust
If you or your partner has breached the other’s trust, then this is a good sign that you could benefit from couples therapy exercises. Sometimes, counseling won’t be enough after a serious betrayal for one person to forgive the other.
This might be the case if the deception was about infidelity, or money issues. However, there are time when the right counseling can help to rebuild trust and prevent future examples of the same behavior.
2. When you’re arguing more often
No matter how much you think you have in common with your partner – you’re not the same person. The two of you will have different opinions on a lot of things. Arguments might happen naturally.
However, if it seems like you’re constantly shouting at each other, or that the small blowouts are growing into big world-ending arguments, then this could be a bad sign.
You know when your relationship just feels right, and you know when it doesn’t. Maybe you and your partner aren’t spending as much time together as you once did.
Perhaps you don’t feel as comfortable around each other in the bedroom, or you’re not getting intimate as much as you did before. Maybe you just don’t feel like your other half appreciates you the way that he or she should.
If something feels wrong, then couples counseling could help you get to the bottom of the problem before it becomes a disaster.
4. If you can’t communicate properly
Communication problems are at the core of most serious relationship issues. If you can’t connect with your other half in a productive way, then you’re never going to be able to work as a team.
Good communication is an important part of all relationships and is an essential part of any healthy partnership.
Online couples’ therapy and counseling exercises can help you to discover what’s stopping your communication from being more effective.
Therapists can put a foundation in place for a more open dialogue between you and your partner, so problems don’t just fester under the surface.
5. After you’ve gone through something difficult
Difficult experiences affect all of us in different ways. If you’ve recently had a death in your family, or you’ve lost your job, then you’re bound to be more emotional, and this is going to have an impact on your relationship.
Serious and stressful events in your life can easily lead to problems with your partner, particularly if you don’t know how to communicate the way you feel. Couples therapy exercises can help you to address the problem before it divides you.
6. When you’re stuck in bad patterns
Research into relationship shows us that how couples handle conflict is a great insight into whether their relationship will actually go the distance.
If you’re stuck in bad patterns of lashing out, running away, or trying to hurt each other when you’re in an argument, then this could be stopping your relationship from growing.
Couples counseling could help you to get your message across to your other half in a healthier way, without falling into the same patterns.
7. Physical intimacy is a problem
Physical intimacy isn’t the only thing you should be concerned about in a relationship. However, when the spark starts to disappear, this could be a sign that there are deeper problems on the horizon.
A great relationship relies on a good level of intimacy. Learning how to overcome the sexual issues that could be holding you back or preventing you from connecting with each other is essential to building a healthy relationship again.
Don’t worry, couples therapy focused on sex doesn’t have to be as embarrassing as it seems.
8. When you’re considering a new step
You don’t have to wait until something bad happens in your life or your relationship before you seek the help of a professional.
A couples’ therapy session could be the perfect way for you and your partner to clear the air and have a positive dialogue about an upcoming change in your life.
If you’re worried about how a major change might affect your life, like having a baby, or moving to a new country, then you’re probably concerned about your relationship too.
A therapist can help you to address the concerns that you both have. More importantly, couples counseling can be the key to developing some techniques that will allow you to cope with the new steps in your life more effectively.
What is couples therapy really like?
The biggest issue most people have when deciding whether or not they should pursue couples therapy, is that they don’t know what to expect. People envision sitting on a couch with their partner while a doctor tries to dissect their love life.
However, that’s rarely what counseling is really like.
Couples therapy is usually about bringing an objective third-party into the relationship, who can see the perspectives of both people. This person can shine a new light on the problems that have been stopping your relationship from thriving.
Though every therapist is different, most will use simple couples therapy exercises to get to know you and your partner, then offer suggestions on how you can overcome some common issues. You don’t have to talk about any issues that you feel uncomfortable mentioning until you’re ready.
There’s also no reason to engage in any exercises with your therapist that you don’t want to do. If you’re not happy with the suggestions a therapist makes, the problem could be with the kind of therapy you’re getting – not your relationship.
Don’t be afraid to explore different therapists to find the one that suits your relationship best. It’s important for both you and your partner to feel comfortable in this new journey, or you won’t be able to grow together.
Could you benefit from couples therapy?
Couples approach therapists for a variety of reasons, from dealing with the betrayal of infidelity, to handling massive changes in their life, like marriage.
It’s important to note that couples counseling won’t work for every couple. Therapists can’t give you the magic cure to the problems in your relationship if you’re both not willing to work on them.
Additionally, no matter how much therapy you try, there’s always the chance that you might discover that you and your partner just aren’t as compatible as you thought.
However, in the right circumstances, a therapist can be an extra source of support to help you navigate the complicated path to a better relationship.
If you and your partner are both willing to give it a go, and you think that it might be helpful to you, then you’re in the perfect position to start looking for a therapist together.