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 Deciding to go to couples counseling is in itself a big step. Taking the plunge can be nerve-wracking, embarrassing, and challenging. To make this process a little smoother, here are a few things to know before beginning couples counseling. Family Strategies Counseling and Mediation is a couples counseling office in Homewood, IL.

When Should You Consider Couples Counseling?

Ideally, you want to find a couples counselor before your relationship is in a real crisis. However, we are all busy, and most of us aren’t going to look into something like that when times are good. So instead, we seek out counselors when we are already struggling. How do you know if your relationship is struggling? You might find some of these examples relatable:

  • You see your partner as beneath you
  • You have an “alternative partner” in mind
  • You feel stuck in your relationship
  • You or your partner are dissatisfied with the relationship
man anger management

How Should You Find a Therapist?

Finding a good therapist can be a challenge simply because you are working to accommodate two people’s preferences. It can take a significant amount of time and energy. Here are some tips for finding a couples counselor near you:

  • Ask your primary doctor or OB/GYN
  • Ask your friends for referrals
  • Ask someone who you know has gone through couples counseling, such as a trusted coworker
  • Check Psychology Today for therapists near you

What Kind of Therapy Does Your Counselor Use?

Once you have found your therapist, make sure you know what kind of couples counseling style they use. The most common methods used by professionals are the Gottman MethodEmotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), and Imago Relationship Therapy.

The Gottman Method involves learning how to manage unresolved conflicts through positive communication. EFT focuses on the idea that couples must establish an attachment bond – a feeling of emotional safety with each other. Meanwhile, Imago Relationship Therapy centers around the idea that most people pursue relationships with partners that in some way remind us of our relationship with early caregivers.

Your counselor might use only one or a variety of methods during your sessions. Understanding the logic and theory behind one way over another can help you keep focused on treatment instead of fighting the process.

woman anger

How to Prepare for the First Session

Before you have your first session, make sure you know some of the logistical information. For example, ask about pricing, fees, and if they accept insurance. Also, make sure they are licensed to offer the kind of therapy or counseling you want. Getting this information ahead of time will save you time during your first session.

    What if One of You Isn’t On Board?

    Couples counseling is undoubtedly easier if both of you want to go to therapy. However, in most cases, one of you is more into it than the other. Let your partner know how much you appreciate their willingness to go. Make it clear that it’s an opportunity for them to say what’s on their mind and express themselves freely. Also, understand your goal is to get your partner through the door; the therapist should be the one to prove their effort is worth it.

    woman angry

    What Kind of Results Should You Expect?

    Some relationships can not be saved, nor should they be. However, if you and your partner are committed to working on the relationship, there is a good chance of success. Being clear about your goals will help you stay focused and manage your expectations. Sometimes progress is hard to measure, but many small changes ultimately can equal significant changes.

    Conclusion

    We know that people are busy, and few people seek counseling until they are already experiencing a significant breakdown in their relationship. If you feel like your relationship is struggling, finding a good therapist can be a challenge. Ask for recommendations from other people and look at Psychology Today to help you find a good one. Find out what kind of therapy methods your chosen counselor uses. Be aware of the logistics of your first appointment, such as pricing and what’s expected of you. If one of you is not entirely on board, make sure to let that person know their efforts are appreciated. Finally, manage your expectations when it comes to results. Counseling will not change everything all at once, but often many small changes can lead to significant improvements in your relationship.

    Family Strategies Counseling & Mediation provide in-person couples counseling in Homewood, IL. In addition, we offer family counseling and  mental health services. Our therapists are skilled at working with those who are struggling to process traumatic events. Give our office a call at (708) 798-5433 or email us a info@Family-Strategy.com for appointment details.