Couples / Marital Counselling
What are typical reasons for considering couple / marriage counseling?
The most common reasons for couples to seek counseling are financial disagreements or conflict with in-laws. Often couples find blended families to be very challenging to their relationships as well.
Premarital guidance is an excellent reason to consider marriage counseling. This is an ideal opportunity to clarify each one’s expectations of marriage. It helps to prevent feeling disillusioned and / or simply feeling unhappy in the relationship down the road.
Couples often get stuck in what appears to be the same argument over and over. A professional counsellor can help the couple resolve problems as they arise and / or define the underlying problem.
Major losses or changes in one’s life also create hurdles couples often need professional help with in order to regain stability in their relationship.
Domestic violence or abuse of any kind, including substance abuse, is vital reasons to seek help.
What if my partner refuses to go to counseling with me?
Preferably, a couple agrees to go together for counselling, but often significant progress can be made when only one of the couple comes. The partner who comes to counselling often learns effective ways he / she can change his / her own thoughts and behaviors that are contributing to the problem in the relationship. If one partner begins to make significant changes in his/her behavior, the other frequently begins to respond in a favorable way. Sometimes the other partner will agree to go to counselling later.
Individual counselling can help the one who seeks help to see the relationship more clearly and determine whether or not it is realistic to expect to achieve the desired changes in the relationship.
What if one of us is already involved with someone else?
Whereas this complicates saving the relationship, it doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship is over. Sometimes the third party is primarily a symptom of other problems in the relationship that can be reconciled with professional help.
If both partners want to save the relationship, counselling can help with rebuilding trust and with the process of forgiveness.
Falling in love is often the term used to describe the feelings one has for the strong attraction one has for another. It is, however, only one aspect of love. There is typically a sense of being “swept off one’s feet” and of having no choice about these powerful feelings. Mature love, however, is more than a feeling. In fact, it is a conscious choice or decision that is manifested in action.
Loving is a learned behavior. We learn to love primarily from our parents and other significant people in our lives. Sometimes our partner has learned to express love in a way that is well intended but does not meet our particular love needs. Counselling can help clarify each other’s “love language” and restore love feelings.
Major Benefits of Marital Counselling
One of the major benefits of marital counselling is the instruction, coaching, and feedback in developing new skills to make changes in your relationship. Skill development often focuses on the following skills areas:
- Communication and problem solving
- Appropriate expression, disclosure, and resolution of painful emotions
- Effective negotiation for change within the relationship
- Acquisition of the ability to work within a partnership to achieve goals
- Development of the ability to engage in consultation and cooperation with family issues such as money management, parenting, lifestyle issues, and stage of life issues
- De-escalation of arguments before they get hurtful
- Identification and elimination of dirty fight tactics
- Learning and practicing effective problem solving techniques
- Learning and practicing effective ways to start a difficult conversation in a neutral manner
- Regaining the ability to perceive the positive characteristics in your partner and in your marriage
When you participate in marriage counselling you have an opportunity to get to know your spouse again. Couples who have been together awhile have a tendency to talk superficially or about things and issues other than themselves. Partners often quit talking about the things they think and feel. Couples counselling can guide you through your unresolved issues, including the emotional baggage from your family of origin that may be re-created and played out in your current relationship. You have an opportunity to identify how your prior experiences "colour" how you experience your life now, and can learn how to neutralize the negative impact of your histories. In doing so, you can visualize the relationship that you want, discover how to accomplish it, and begin to work toward your relationship goals.
The Family Enhancement Centre has many trained therapists who are skilled at quickly putting you at ease and making each session a positive experience. We can help on an individual basis, as a couple or with your whole family to share information or help improve your relationships. We pride ourselves on:
- Having no waiting list, you can begin sessions within a week of your initial call;
- We offer in home or in office sessions; and
- We can provide counselling in multiple languages.