Is Marriage Counseling Effective? Good question to ask. I have no idea if it is or not. I can’t even give you a good description of the definition for marriage counseling. As a therapist I am suppose to tell you all sorts of great success stories and how wonderful coming to therapy is for a couple. The truth is that with me as your therapist you may not like what you hear. Maybe you will run away after the first session but that’s OK. I will keep chugging along with the same message. A message that set me on a path of inner seeking and no longer clinging to others on the outside in an attempt to fill up what I then perceived to be a hole or lack in myself. A deeper more personal spiritual path.
An example of the typical couples that I see in session usually calls up at the very moment the relationship is blowing up. Never did they consider doing any work before. So as you can see, when my clients walk in the door they sure are expecting a miracle to happen. Just to be clear, as a therapist, I am not a wizard, magician, fortune teller and I cannot wave a wand to make all of your problems that you perceive go away.
I can do something far better than that. Something more powerful and life altering. It does however require just a tiny bit of participation on your end as the client. I can help to show both of you the endless cycle of manipulative communication that keeps playing the same tape over and over again. The tape that says I am right and you are wrong. I can reveal that from each of your own perspectives you both are right and wrong. That there is no answer to this endless rat race. By owning your part of how the relationship got to the point it’s at you will start the journey of not couples counseling but individual counseling.
Once you are able to see that the battle is never with anyone outside of yourself you will stop the defensiveness and the attack on your partner. You will soon be able to easily identify why you respond the way you do when you perceive an attack from your partner.
Here is my list of what is helpful when asking the question, Is Marriage Counseling Effective?
Marriage counseling and relationship counseling may not work if you can identify with any of the following statements on this list.
This won’t work if you do think that you may actually have a part in the relationship getting to the point it is now. If you think your so right and come into therapy just to placate your partner then I am sorry to say but you may be the one that needs to start individual sessions first.
If you are one of the majority of people who cannot sit for a second and feel a feeling, counseling is going to be difficult. Don’t worry I was unable to feel feeling for the majority of my life. I can remember feeling mostly the victim, the aggressive one, the manipulator and con artist. These roles kept me locked and loaded to avoid not feel. I was able to blame everyone else, manipulate them into thinking they were the problem and take zero responsibility for my actions. This is a great way to dodge feelings.
I was blind to the fact that a feeling is not right or wrong. It is simply an indicator telling me which way to travel on my path. I did not allow myself to feel feelings so how in the world was I ever going to be able to be in a relationship? How could I possibly understand how someone else feels? People numb out by any means possible. Drugs and alcohol, behavioral addictions, serial dating, work, etc.
What is Self Awareness? Why is this important for relationships? Self-awareness is the ability to understand your own personal needs. Also your habits, fears, desires, shortcomings, triggers and all of the other things that make up who you are. To know yourself is to know another. If I am unaware of myself then I am operating from the dinosaur brain. I am in a constant state of flight or fight. Fear is running the script.
Humans develop survival responses in the midst of interpersonal conflict. This is in the effort to protect self when a perceived threat is heading their way. We become defensive, angry, isolated, withdrawn and start to counterattack. Each partner is caught off guard. They are lost in their unawareness only focusing on what the other partner is doing to trigger them. It takes two people to make the relationship work. Many times I see one who goes the whole way and becomes self actualized. The other stays resentful and in the victim mentality. Is marriage counseling effective? Well it all depends on how aware you are.
You flat out do not want to be in the marriage anymore yet you do not know what to say or how to start the process of ending it. Instead you just go through the motions because your trying to “do what your suppose to do.: You have guilt and shame all the time and think of yourself as a bad person for not having the same feelings anymore. You are hard on yourself so instead of talking to your partner directly, you silently implode.
You have to give it a try before you can honestly say that it will not work. I am honest and up front with all of my clients when they call. I tell them that I am not interested in the “story”. All of the stories are the same. I am here to help with a solution. I tell clients before booking sessions that I do not do coping skills therapy like most therapists. It is an insult to you both and a waste of time. My goal is to help you both together and individually see where your conditioning is creating a block and that your black and white thinking is keeping you trapped on this never ending rat race.
Seek help today for marriage counseling and yes if your wondering, If marriage counseling is effective, then I say that it depends on the level of openness and willingness on each persons part. Even if your partner does not last in therapy, the relationship will change and it can change for the better. All I need is one person to change a system. Two is ideal but I will take one. Call today and lets start this rewarding and life changing work.