Relationship Myth # 4: Couples therapy provides amazing results in a short period of time!

Relationship Myth # 4: Couples therapy provides amazing results in a short period of time!

I am beyond excited to explore this topic in more details with your guys because it’s something I discuss with most of the couples I work with. In fact, I even ask this question in my intake paperwork before I meet the couple in person.

The question is this:

How long do you expect to be in therapy?”

Can you guess the most common answer? Ohhh, you can do it-it’s easy and it’s the same answer if you ask yourself this same question right now. You ready for it? The most freest answer to my very important question is the following”

“We are both pretty smart and have been in therapy before, so probably not that long. Maybe 10-12… if not less”

Can you relate?

Did you have a similar answer for yourself?

I bet it was identical even if the wording was different. Why is that? Why do people think that therapy should be short term and provide a quick fix?

Maybe it’s because therapy is hard work?

Maybe because marriage counseling makes you super vulnerable, and no one likes to be vulnerable and hurt?

Or maybe because we live in a society that values quick fixes and demands immediate gratification?

I mean we get pissed the second our internet speed starts to slow down for some reason. Or our picture does not download as fast as we want it to to Facebook. Or we are stuck in traffic on Six Forks Road in Raleigh between 4pm and 6pm on a weekday (which is happening more and more often recently, damn it). Can you see I am getting irritated already just imagining those scenarios?

Our attention span, tolerance levels and amount of patience have been drastically decreased while our expectations and standards of living have increased, leaving us feeling unhappy and unfulfilled.

This is especially true when it comes to intimate relationships.

Couples apply the same “quick fix thinking style” to their marriage. And struggle. And fail. Then they call me. They say that they’ve done couples counseling before, but it didn’t work. When I ask how long they were in marriage counseling, they say “for a couples of months.”

REALLY?

You had 8 full sessions (4 weekly sessions in two months) and your problems were not fixed?

NO SHIT!

If no one explained to you why this is the case, let me try here one more time. This is the way I explain it to my own couples. And I start explaining the process during our initial phone consultation with both partners. I don’t even wait until I see them in my office for the first time. Because I want to make sure we are a good fit and that we are on the same page when it comes to the treatment goes and expectations from the very beginning. I don’t want to waste my clients’ time and I don’t want them to be in therapy forever.

BUT, I want to let them know that I am not a short term therapist and that I don’t believe in quick fixes. If it takes you 10 minutes to walk in the forest, you can’t leave the forest in 5 minutes. It’s just not how it works. I work intensely with couples which means that we meet weekly and work together for at least 6 months. Often times, much longer than that.

It takes time to make sustainable changes, and you need much more than good communication skills and conflict resolution tools. Much more. You need to understand your attachment style, how you relate to your partner, to the world, and to yourself. You need to lean about your relationship cycle and what happens when your heart becomes sad and vulnerable. Then you need to learn how to communicate that to your partner in a way that brings them closer together instead of pushing them away. Then you need to learn thousand more things in order to sustain this new cycle and change.

Relationships are not easy, marriage is a very hard work. So it takes much longer than 8 sessions to make sense of everything and get to a better place of feeling loved and understood.

I hope this information helps you to better understand why marriage counseling requires time and energy before it can produce effective sustainable results. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to give me a call at (703)347 3200 and schedule an appointment in my Wake Forest office.

If you are looking for help with your relationships or marriage, you can read more about how I can help here. Please do not wait several years before you seek couples counseling. You deserve to be happy today!

ABOUT AUTHOR

Irina Baechle,LCSW is a founder, owner, and a licensed therapist at IrinaBaechleCounselingLLC. She specializes in helping distant couples and anxious singles build truly connected and meaningful relationships. She currently offers online and in-home counseling services to residents of Virginia and North Carolina (and most countries abroad). Click here to schedule your free 15 min consultation. Follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube for useful tips and resources.

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