Can Couples Counseling Save Your Relationship?
“It’s not the same. I don’t really know what’s wrong. It’s just not the way it used to be.”
Like something you’ve probably thought or said to a friend at some point?
Time and transition can be hard on a relationship. The weight of growing responsibilities and obligations can cause small cracks to begin appearing in your relationship. If left unnoticed they could turn into something more permanent. However, healing them, or even knowing how to begin is not always easy. Sometimes it takes the help of a trained professional to help realize and correct the strain your relationship is facing.
Couples Counselling is an effective way of healing your relationship. Research has shown that couples who are motivated to get help often reap the most benefits from counseling. There are many places which offer counseling services. Illumination Wellbeing Centre is one such place in Dubai. But how can the process help you?
Counseling Helps to Identify the Problem
‘You cannot prescribe a cure without knowing what is hurting’
A couples counselor helps you understand what exactly is causing the discord in your relationship. We often fall into repetitive patterns of behavior without even realizing it. For example, a partner might respond with defensiveness or anger every time you try and give them feedback. With time you will start anticipating the anger and tailor your words to fit what your partner wants to hear. Although this might seem like a good solution to avoid unnecessary arguments, over time it can lead to a build-up of resentment and can take a toll on the relationship. Identifying these toxic patterns through the process of counseling is the first step towards healing.
Counseling Helps in Understanding The Problem
Once, you are aware of what problems exist, it is also important to truly understand why they occur. A counselor can help you understand the causes that lead to these problems. Together, you will gain insight into the frame of reference and context of your partner (and vice versa) which can lead to better understanding of how actions influence them and why they react in the way that they do. You and your partner can then slowly start exploring long-standing issues in the relationship. Revisiting a problem, from a little distance can help gain perspective and aid in finding solutions. In the words of David James Lee, a relationship counselor, ‘you can’t change what you don’t understand.’
Counselling Provides A Safe Space to Talk
It is possible that partners have a lot to say to each other but might not able to do so because they aren’t able to find the words, the timing is never right, there are children around, or they don’t want to hurt their partner’s feelings. However, keeping all these issues bottled up often worsens the situation. You might start to withdraw from your partner or start behaving more aggressively/submissively- none of which are healthy forms of coping. The counseling setting provides a neutral safe space where both you and your partner can voice your concerns without the fear of judgment. The therapist will help mediate the conversations and will ensure that both partners benefit from the exchange.
Counselling Provides an Opportunity to Learn and Practise Healthy Coping Strategies
Across the various sessions, the therapist will introduce you and your partner to constructive ways of addressing your problems. The goal is to equip both of you with the tools required to be able to communicate your problems or desires in a positive and productive manner. For example, in order to rekindle an appreciation for one another, Dr. John Gottman uses the 5:1 technique. This involves adding 5 positive encounters with your partner for every 1 negative one. This is based on the idea that one should not take love for granted, and that our differences can help spark passion.
Counselling Can Help Improve Intimacy and Communication
Any happy relationship requires frequent, honest communication. It is a give and takes of explaining what you want and need, as well as listening to what your partner wants and needs. The main goal of counseling is to help each couple rediscover one another, find a balance and reignite the kind of intimacy they perhaps shared earlier. If nothing else, counseling can help you attain some kind of clarity about what you want from the relationship.
Research has shown that 93% of couples who undergo counseling feel more satisfied, and claim to be better equipped to deal with their problems. The respondents also mentioned enjoying better physical health and quality of life post counseling.
The only important thing to keep in mind is to not wait too long. The average couple waits six years before seeking help. An intimate relationship can be a beautiful thing, which can greatly add to your happiness and well being.
If you live in or around JLT or Mirdif and feel like you are not satisfied, or are not getting everything you want from your relationship, please do not hesitate to reach out for help. One of our trained counselors, here at the Illuminations Well Being Centre (Dubai), can help you regain your happiness.