Couples Counseling: What You Can Do to Maximize Its Results

Couples Counseling: What You Can Do to Maximize Its Results

During marriage counseling in Raleigh, NC, my job is to help you and your partner reach your personal objectives for seeking therapy and feel really connected to each other. The key goal of couples counseling is often times increasing your knowledge about yourself and your partner. Another aim of marriage therapy is improving your understanding of the patterns and dynamics in your relationship. To maximize the results of couples therapy, you need to apply new knowledge to change unhealthy patterns in your relationship and develop the better ones.

During marriage counseling in Raleigh, NC, you will develop clarity about the kind of relationship you and your partner want to build. However, to build and maintain improvements in your relationship, you need to have a vision of personal growth and life you want to build with your partner and to be motivated to keep it up.

How to Maximize Your Couples Counseling Results

Before each session, I suggest that you and your partner both reflect on your objectives for being in therapy as well as your therapy goals. Also, talk openly to your partner between counseling sessions and reflect on the signs that your marriage therapy is working. Remember that your attitude towards change is essential in improving your relationship. For example, it is easy to identify what you can do to improve your sex life. The real challenge, however, is to figure out why you don’t do it.

So, let’s dig a bit on some strategies to maximize the results of your couples counseling

1.    Practice outside of Sessions

Sometimes, you may be assigned some kind of homework as part of your counseling, to practice skills you learned in sessions and apply them to real-life situations. Whether the homework is assigned or not, you should practice outside what you learned during your couples counseling sessions to improve on specific problems recognized during the sessions. For example, I will most probably ask you to notice when you get into your relationship cycle and feel stuck with your partner, including noticing your behaviors and emotions underneath.

2.    Have Reasonable Expectations

Your expectations about couples counseling will significantly influence the counseling process and the outcome. Do not expect one 75-minute session a week (or even 15) to fix your problems that took several years to develop.

Read the book “Hold Me Tight” by Dr. Sue Johnson. This amazing book offers a groundbreaking view of relationships and ideas on how to shape thriving love relationships. “Hold Me Tight” is based on the Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT) that Dr. Johnson developed. EFT is structured, short-term approach to marriage counseling whose effectiveness has been empirically proved. Namely, research shows that 90 percent of couples undertaking Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy show significant improvements while 70-75 percent of couples move from distress.

3.    Take Advantage of Couples Retreats or Couples Intensives

Couples retreats or couples intensives are couples gateways – vacation packages combined with couples counseling providing a wonderful opportunity to dive into the depths of your personality, your partner’s personality, and your relationship. And all of that while you are enjoying yourselves away from everyday stresses. Therefore, couples retreats are a unique opportunity to rekindle connection while having an exclusive romantic getaway.

Private, EFT-based couples intensive in conjunction with weekly therapy is a great therapy option if you are feeling rushed to resolve your problems. A private couples intensive is a unique chance to focus completely on your relationship, using the knowledge of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy. The intensive can help you to profoundly understand yourself and your partner and the dynamics of your relationship. Once you understand the patterns in your relationship and underlying emotions, you’ll be able to find effective solutions that will keep your relationship strong despite the challenges. You can benefit from 3 months of therapy during one weekend working with me or another therapist offering intensives. They are amazing and very effective!

4.    Focus on Changing Yourself First

To maximize the results of your marriage counseling, set personal therapy goals and focus on changing yourself rather than your partner. It is in our nature to try to change the people we share our lives with instead of adjusting our expectations. So, look into YOUR deepest desires, needs, and expectations, try to be realistic and accept that you need to improve your response to challenges in your relationship. You and your partner may greatly influence each other, but you can’t change each other. The change needs to begin within you and with you.

Summary

To maximize the positive effect of couples counseling in restoring your relationship, you need to show commitment and motivation to learn, practice and grow. Having reasonable expectations and taking the advantage of counseling opportunities your couples therapists provides is definitely a great start. And as you personally heal, your relationship will be recovering too.

If you have any questions or would like to explore the opportunity to work with me, do not hesitate to call at (703)-347-3200 for your free of charge 15-min consultation and/or to schedule an appointment in my Wake Forest office or online.

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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