02 May 2018:
By the time you look at your partner and shake your head before you say the words ’I think we should go to therapy’, then you must have felt like your back was totally against the wall. However, studies show that only half of the couples that consider therapy actually make it. So, you might find yourself wondering, is it really worth the hassle? What can be done to ensure that you actually come out strong? The following are some tips to improve your chances at couple’s therapy.
First and most importantly is to remember that it is not just about showing up. Couples therapy is very different from depression or anxiety therapy. It is a more intense process that calls for you to give everything you have. How, you ask?
- Focus on yourself more than your partner – Yes, you may have scheduled your sessions because you need your partner to change but nothing is more effective than concentrating on yourself. Ultimately, the world is not perfect and we do not always get what we want. The only way to make sure the process is effective is to know how to deal with the imperfection in your partner. Finding the beauty in it rather than criticizing it. This simple act is more growth than you could ever know.
- Dig deep in your sessions – This may be the hardest thing to do in therapy because of all the emotion involved but you need to put yourself out there and get behind the trigger feelings. If you find yourself constantly getting confrontational in session, it might be a sign that you have unresolved feelings bottled up inside. Therefore, you need to know what your triggers are and how best to handle the feelings if and when the need arises.
- Be ready to put in the time - Couples therapy is rarely a quick fix. This being said, you may need to schedule some time to spend with your partner out of the psychology clinic. The most important factor in this is to ensure that this time is given and not begged for. Another important factor is to remember that it is not the amount of time you spend with your partner. Quality tramps quantity every time and especially in this situation.
- Find yourself – Independence is important and marriage or relationships are not tailored to cater to all your needs. Granted, having someone to turn to when you feel blue or after a long hard day is great but your partner may not always feel up to it. You are the source of your own happiness and it has been proven to be better to hang around a happy, vibrant person than a low, dull one.
- Don’t consider divorce for now – Taking divorce off the table for the duration of your therapy might be the most effective move for your therapy journey. Consider divorce as an emergency exit for this. If you go into a session with divorce at the back of your mind, then chances are that you will not work as hard because you have an exit strategy already. The point of couples therapy in the first place is to save your relationship and move forward in your marriage, this becomes difficult when one or both sides aren't fully committed to couples therapy. You might end up with more issues than you went in with warranting more time with the therapist, perhaps taking some trauma therapy to help you deal with the distressing end of your marriage.
In conclusion, couple’s therapy is a long, difficult process but we can’t argue with the results. Besides, it is definitely worth it in the end. If you are seeking a different type of psychologist then you can often find that they practice under the one roof, for more information on different types of psychology click here if you are from Melbourne or St Kilda. Also note that this page also offers couples therapy if you have decided