Guidelines to making your couples counseling experience more effective
· Punctuality is important because there are usually other clients both before and following your appointment time.
· You will be charged for missed appointments unless 24 hour notice is given.
· We suggest that homework assignments be completed within the first two or three days following appointments, to give ample time for practicing the newly learned techniques before the next appointment.
Throughout this site, we have placed at your fingertips methods and tools that have proven useful in saving relationships. But even the best self-help concepts and forms in the world are not enough in certain situations. Sometimes you need the support and motivation that only professional couples’ counselors can provide.
The purpose of couples counselors, from our perspective, is to guide you through:
· How to communicate with each other:
How to talk so your partner will hear what you say, rather than react to how you said it.
How to listen in such a way that your partner feels understood.
· How to manage your own emotions, rather than “dumping” on your partner:
A couples union is a symbiotic relationship; once you are a couple there is no such thing as only one of you having a bad mood
· Becoming aware of different personality styles and types and how to resolve those differences:
We almost always mate with people of a different personality type. We make friends with people of the same personality type and find intimate attraction to people of different personality types. This seems to be “Mother Nature’s” way of ensuring diversity in the gene pool.
There are gender differences that cause stress in all relationships. Male and female brains and biology are wired differently, resulting in cognitive and emotional “styles” that need to be understood and affectionately accepted.
· Learning how to be “assertive”:
For both genders our biological natures cause us to be either overly-passive, overly-aggressive, or sometimes both passive and aggressive, depending on the situation.
Assertiveness training allows us to substitute more appropriate learned behavior in place of the instinctual behavior we share with less developed species, i.e. baboons.
· Learning how to resolve conflict:
A serious danger to relationships develops when one party feels like they always lose/win. Respect and equality are necessary to a healthy long term relationship.
Skills of conflict resolution can result in collaborative decisions that cause both parties to say, “I like this solution better than if I had gotten my own way in the first place.
The Dangers of Discouragement
Why do you think that all couples unions around the world require that the couple stand in front of the tribal elders and swear that they will stay together in good times and bad? The elders already know that such unions are not always easy! They know that you will experience all the troubles that life can bring, as well as the troubles you cause for each other.
The decision to seek out couples counseling represents the feeling of discouragement that most couples experience. Sometimes couples get to the point where they feel that any effort to improve their relationship is just a waste of time. Over the years, we believe that one of our greatest contributions to couples has been our consistent encouragement when things looked bleak. Our clients know, when they were getting too discouraged to believe they could ever make it work again, that their counselors continue to believe that their efforts would be successful. Eventually, each spouse would come to believe in the success of their future together again, too.
Discouragement is contagious. When one spouse is discouraged, the other quickly follows. Encouragement, on the other hand, is often met with skepticism by the other spouse. So it’s easy to be discouraged, and difficult to be encouraged, when you’re trying to solve frustrating problems. Your counselors will be there to provide needed encouragement when there seems to be none in sight. We have decades of experience and have seen many relationships that seemed hopeless be healed and become fulfilled. We have good reasons to believe in your relationship.
Good counselors are a valuable strategy resource. While couples usually can find adequate ways to “get through” their conflicts, professional counselors are experienced at finding more successful resolutions in situations like yours. That’s what you pay them to do! Your counselors’ rational strategies should encourage you in the belief that your problems will be over soon. Counselors often obtain special training for many common problems, such as sexual incompatibility and financial conflicts. These counselors can document a high rate of success in helping you to find creative solutions to those problems.
To summarize, the three most important reasons for seeking out professional advice in your relationships are:
· to help you avoid or overcome painful emotional reactions to the process of solving relationship problems,
· to motivate you to complete your plan of restoring romantic love and stability to your relationship,
· to help you come up with strategies that will achieve your goals and restore joy to your lives.