Is your relationship at a Crossroad?
Are you wondering if it’s still worth fighting for?
Are you thinking about ending your marriage but also afraid you might be making a huge mistake?
It is surprising how many people decide to end their relationship without ever seeing a couples counsellor. A lot of relationship issues can be worked through with the right help.
Studies have shown that couples who work through their problems and stay together are happier than couples who get divorced. If it is safe to do so, it may be worthwhile to work on the relationship before deciding to walk away.
The problem is, not all couples counselling is helpful. There are different types of couples therapy with varying degrees of effectiveness. How do you know which will work best for you?
Here are some tips to find the best therapist for your relationship problems.
1. Are they trained to do couples counselling?
Make sure your therapist has had specific training in couples counselling and experience working specifically with couples. Couples therapy is very different from individual therapy and requires a different skill set. Therapists who are great at individual work may still struggle with couples if they have not received additional training or have the passion and experience of working with couples.
2. Do your own research about couples therapy
Not all couple therapies are the same and some have better outcomes than others. It is easy to do some research on the different types of therapies thanks to the internet. It is always best to find clinicians using an evidence-based therapy, meaning a therapy model that has a lot of research to back it up. One of the most popular couples therapy with decades of research is Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) which is based on Attachment Theory. Imago Couples Therapy, the Gottman Method, Narrative Therapy are also popular and are known to be effective. CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) is one of the most effective individual therapies that also has modified versions for couples. Have a read about them to see which will work best for you.
3. Your therapist is not influenced by their own belief about marriage/relationships
Make sure your counsellor is not pushing you towards a certain decision, for example: convincing you to leave or stay. A seasoned therapist will be neutral and not let their own belief influence therapy. They will support you to explore your options and come to your own conclusion. Remember, counsellors may be experts at their job, but you are the expert of your own relationship and your life. They are not in a position to give you advice. If you have strong beliefs or are deeply religious, you may want to seek counselling from someone who may share your beliefs or are spiritually-informed. Counsellors with good cross-cultural awareness may help in cases of multicultural marriages/families.
4. Do you feel comfortable raising your concerns with them
Another important part of counselling relationships is that you feel comfortable talking to your therapist about any concerns you may have during therapy. If you don’t like the direction of where the therapy is going, make sure your therapist is open and ready to listen to what you have to say.
5. Does your therapist make you feel safe
Emotional safety during couples counselling is important. The reason some couples avoid couples therapy is because they are afraid that things will only get worse by talking about it. Safety during couples therapy is achieved when the therapist manages the session well and makes both parties feel validated and listened to. That is why a good couples therapist will interrupt you often and refocus your attention to relevant issues. This means the therapist is containing the sessions so that the discussions are productive rather than ineffective.