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What Questions Should You Ask Before Committing to Couples Counseling?

All too often couples decide to come to couples counseling long after they should have done so. This makes the healing process harder, and in some cases, impossible.

You know that you don’t want things to end up that way, but how can you tell when it’s time to seek help?

Asking some pointed questions will be a good first step. Yet, which questions do you need to consider before committing to couples counseling? It’s okay not to know, as long as you are willing to acknowledge that and have an open mind to the therapeutic process.

To get you started, here are some questions to think about before you engage in therapy.

What Is the Problem?

Ask yourself, “What really is the problem in our relationship?” Keep in mind that your answer shouldn’t be “my partner.” That’s because, as we all know, relationships are a two-way street. That means that you can’t place all the blame on your partner for the relationship problems.

Typically, the issues are much greater: breakdown of communication, lack of trust, not feeling close or loving, or quick to argue and lash out in anger.

If you took an honest look at your relationship and have noticed that these issues create problems between you and your partner, then it might be time to consider couples counseling.

Have We Tried Resolving the Issues Ourselves?

Next, consider whether you have genuinely tried to resolve the problems yourselves. Note the word “genuine.” This implies that both of you are willing to acknowledge the issue and are open to one another.

Truthfulness is critically important for couples to resolve their differences. If one or both of you are not genuine and sincere in your desires to repair the relationship, then this process won’t work.

To be genuine, it requires that you both can sit down with one another and have an honest discussion about what’s happening.

Are Our Problems Interfering with Other Parts of Our Lives?

Another question to think about before committing to couples counseling is whether the issues are interfering with other aspects of your lives. For instance, have you been late to work because you and your partner keep arguing? Or are the children noticing the problems that you and your partner are having, and are acting out?

If the answer is yes to these questions, then that’s a sign you both should seriously think about seeking couples counseling.

Do We Want Therapy to Work?

That may sound like a ridiculous question. After all, who wouldn’t want therapy to help resolve their relationship issues, right?

However, for some, it may be too little too late. They might not want therapy to work because they have reached a point where they are removing themselves from the relationship.

It might not be obvious at first. Rather, answering this question is something that requires some soul-searching by both partners. Otherwise, you are each setting the other up for failure.

Are We Expecting Therapy to “Fix” Our Problems?

If you are expecting therapy to fix your relationship problems, then you are bound to be disappointed. That’s because counseling isn’t intended to fix or repair anything! Instead, therapy provides a structure that can help both of you to foster understanding, connection, and growth.

The reality is that it’s you and your partner that do the “fixing.” This is accomplished by attending sessions, practicing communication skills, and listening to one another. And it requires that you commit to the process and are willing to do the work needed to repair your relationship.

Many couples resort to therapy only as the last option. And they fail to ask themselves the hard questions beforehand. Instead, they push their relationship issues under the surface until they can no longer be ignored.

However, if you and your partner have begun having conversations about therapy and are willing to put in the effort, then it’s time to seek out couples counseling. Please, feel free to contact us. 256-686-9195

Author

Joshua Howell, MS, LPC, NCC, AADC, ICAADC, SAP, SAE

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