Couples Counselling Can help!

Couple Counselling Melbourne can help couples improve their relationship in many ways. For instance, counselling helps couples resolve conflict, improves two-way communication, can increase patience and tolerance levels allowing for a better understanding of each other’s needs and an enhanced emotional connection, which can strengthen your bond of commitment.

Naturally, couples will possibly face many personal barriers and obstacles throughout counselling that can ‘hold back’ your progressions, such as if couples have an inaccurate assumption or a higher expectation of counselling outcomes.

Alternatively, couples may feel uncertain about committing their time and money to seeing a psychologist if they’re not sure of the outcomes.

Instead of asking “do you think we need couples counselling” – why not ask, “What might we benefit from couple counselling”.

A couples counselling psychologist will use numerous and varied types of counselling approaches, therapies and treatments that can usually require a few counselling sessions to ensure both parties are comfortable with the counselling process.

It should be noted: “Delaying seeing a psychologist in the first place, may only deepen your problems.”

Below you’ll find six common obstacles and outcomes that couples may have experienced. However, with the assistance of couples counselling psychologist or counsellor and the willingness of each partner to participate in the process; couples can normally overcome most relationship obstacles.

Obstacle 1. Wanting the other partner to change. When clients come for couples counselling they want a change. However, sometimes what they really want is for the Psychologist to change their partner’s behaviour. For instance, one side might want the Psychologist to change their partner’s spending habits, while not considering if their own behaviour also needs to be reviewed and modified.

Outcome: Both partners need to make changes in order to improve the relationship, which could involve changing their own perceptions and behaviours and learn to create boundaries and compromise on issues. For example, couples who want to stop arguing over money need to examine their own patterns and behaviours around money, and the role it plays in their relationship. Remember the common mantra in couples counselling is to rebuild trust and to remove negativity

Obstacle 2. Not acknowledging your role. Another common obstacle is not taking responsibility for your role in your relationship problems. Typically at a couple counselling session, both partners are trying to communicate their side while hoping to receive validation and reactions from each other.

Each party can tend to focus on what their partner did wrong by saying, “You did this” or “I did this because you did that.”

Outcome: In order for couple counselling to be effective, both partners must acknowledge how they’re contributing to the argument or problem, and work on changing their own behaviour towards the common goal – “an improved relationship”

Obstacle 3. Keeping secrets. Some partners start couple counselling with secrets, such as an affair or an addiction. A partner who sub-consciously or consciously has the attitude of “There is no way I’m going to divulge my secret” tend to normally not fully engage in the counselling process.

If you have started counselling and a partner has ‘kept secrets’ from their spouse while engaging in couple counselling are fooling themselves and their loved ones. Barriers are instantly created which makes it harder to achieve a real change, meaning partners are left ‘treading water’ until the next cycle of discontent erupts.

Outcome: Each partner should consider the implications of your relationship by keeping a secret during couple counselling. Secrets can reduce the vitality and trust of a relationship and while you don’t have to share all your secrets, it’s best to reveal and work through any secrets that are currently affecting your relationship. Remember; in couples counselling Melbourne it’s important to acknowledge, the “client” is not either partner, but is actually the relationship or connection between each other.

Your Psychologist can assist you with this process, and your relationship with an outcome your relationship will likely to be stronger and have greater integrity.

Obstacle 4. Not following through. During the course of couples counselling, couples may agree on what needs to change in a relationship in order to achieve improvement. However, following through or applying the Psychologist’s strategies and techniques during an argument can be difficult.

Outcome: Couples must learn to be patient with one another and work together as a team. Working with your Psychologist to identify “catchphrases” for times when an argument gets out of control, such as: “we’re off track”; “I’m at the tipping point”; “we need to stop”; or do something playful to defuse the situation.

Counselling strategies will also help you identify and express to your partner when you’re becoming emotionally overwhelmed when you’re not in the right mindset to communicate in a productive manner, how best to disengage from a conflict and when to constructively re-engage in the conversation again at a later time.

Obstacle 5. Not trusting the process. Couples might enter counselling wanting a quick fix or wanting the Psychologist to tell their partner that they need to change. However, to improve your relationship, it’s important for couples to trust the counselling process.

Outcome: To be able to “peel the layers back” and get to the real source of your marital conflict and to begin the healing process requires both partners to invest time and their commitment to learn how to be vulnerable with each another, learn to express feelings and thoughts rather than demands, acknowledge each other’s role in the relationship, and to learn how to hear what your partner is truly saying.

Obstacle 6. Waiting too long. Many couples use couple counselling as their last stop before heading off to their divorce lawyer and a court date. Unfortunately, even if couples involve themselves in couples counselling at this point, these couples are less likely to improve their relationship. However; late help-seeking couples also can use counselling to review their choices, better understand the consequences of their decisions, and try to resolve some conflicts or even plan a structured separation that keeps their relationship civil and functional.

Psychological stress from being aware the relationship is struggling and there is constant conflict… Constant conflict can ultimately have a negative influence on your other personal and work relationships. Both partners need to identify there is a real problem and reach out for help while the both of you are willing to make changes. Avoid waiting and hoping that it’ll pass. “It won’t.”

Our team at Counselling in Melbourne will strive to break down barriers so we can identify the core issue you’re both experiencing and then begin to utilise our approaches, treatments and therapies to achieve the process of healing and reconnecting by having a new commitment to each other. Call us 1300 967 734

Reviewed by Greg Redmond, Director, Counselling In Melbourne 2017

Our blog is for general educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for individual professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need help with an emotional or behavioural problem, please seek the assistance of a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional


About the editor, Amelia Cambrell

My name is Amelia and I'm a Senior Psychologist at Counselling in Melbourne. I have over 18-years of experience in the mental health space. I am very driven to get the best outcomes for my clients which can be long lasting by using a range of modalities such as CBT. There is nothing more satisfying than helping adolescents, adults and couples who are feeling confused, frustrated, stuck or overwhelmed, to find more clarity, confidence and happiness in their lives.

Find out more about Amelia Cambrell

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