It is usual for you and your significant other to get into disagreements and encounter challenges. However, if the issues keep recurring or are not appropriately resolved, your relationship can get strained.
If you feel that you and your partner cannot fix the problem, do not hesitate to get couples counselling. Talking to a professional counsellor or therapist can benefit your relationship, especially if you get help early. According to a study, counselling has a positive effect on 70% of couples.
Admittedly, talking to a stranger about sensitive information about you, your significant other and your relationship can be scary and uncomfortable. This is understandable, but please know that counselling is a safe space to talk about your thoughts and feelings. Your counsellor is not there to judge you. Moreover, everything you say is confidential.
Aside from choosing a qualified counsellor in Dublin, knowing what to expect during the sessions can ease your worries. So, in this article, we give you an overview of what transpires during couples or marriage counselling.
What to Expect on Your First Couples Counselling Session
With couples counselling, most sessions will be conducted with both you and your partner present. But there will be at least two sessions devoted to individual counselling where the counsellor gets to know each person’s history, background and specific needs. This will not happen on the first meeting as the initial session typically requires you and your partner to talk to the counsellor together.
Many couples wonder if they need to prepare for their first session formally. In most cases, formal preparation is not necessary. A qualified counsellor knows how to get things started by asking the right questions. All you have to do is to answer them honestly and share your thoughts freely.
A few minutes of the initial sessions will be spent discussing ground rules and boundaries. The counsellor will talk about methodologies, confidentiality, mandatory reporting of situations and the policies, to name but a few.
You can also expect the therapist or counsellor to ask about what your expectations are of couples counselling. She will also ask about the history of your relationship distress, including the main problems you are experiencing and the usual stressors in your relationship.
Basically, the first meeting is best described as an information-gathering or getting-to-know-you session. Here, the counsellor tries to get a clear idea of the nature of the issue. She will also guide you in setting goals for the relationship.
How Is Couples Counselling Conducted?
During each session, you and your significant other will be talking about the problems you are facing. You will each be given time to give your side of the issue, speaking freely but respectfully. While one person speaks, the other is encouraged to actively listen.
It can be difficult to talk honestly, especially about highly-contested topics. Similarly, it can be challenging to just sit and listen as your partner says things you feel are offensive or unfair. But you have to recognise that this is all part of the process. The counselling is meant to provide a confidential setting where both of you feel safe, listened to and respected.
The counsellor’s role is to make you feel at ease and comfortable, especially when discussing very personal or tough topics. She is there to make sure that you and your partner are able to communicate what’s needed to resolve your issues.
Remember, a qualified counsellor does not take sides. What she is expected to do is to ensure that both parties have the opportunity to give their views about the issue. When emotions run high, she will try to pacify the situation and make sure that you and your partner stay calm and respectful.
Also, don’t expect the counsellor to talk a lot during the sessions. She is primarily there to listen, ask questions and facilitate the discussion.
She may employ different methods like role-playing and role modelling to help you and your partner understand each other better.
You can also expect her to give you projects or assignments that can help with the counselling process. For example, you may be asked to write down your feelings about an argument you had and share what you’ve written in the next session.
Lastly, your counsellor will give you insights such as inconsistencies in the behaviours of both parties. She will also guide you in analysing your behavioural patterns, including how you communicate. More importantly, she will teach techniques to help you and your partner communicate better and deal with difficult situations successfully.
In summary, couples counselling serves as a venue for you and your partner to improve your relationship by resolving your issues with a professional guiding both of you. It is a place where you can discuss complicated matters, feel understood and find healing.
Are you and your partner having difficulty communicating or resolving issues? Talking with a counsellor may be just what you need to overcome the challenges in your relationship. We have counsellors in Dublin experienced in couples counselling. Call us on 015240708 or visit our website to schedule an appointment.