ROSEN COUNSELLING SERVICES
Making Sense of Relationships
Making Sense of Relationships
The majority of couples that divorce never seek professional help. On the other hand, the majority of couples who stick with marriage counseling resolve their issues and build a stronger relationship.
1. We are going to invite a third person into our relationship and feel that we failed as a couple.
Even imagining themselves in front of a marriage counselor makes people feel that they failed for not being able to manage the relationship on their own. Relationships are very complex! Despite having owned and driven a car for years, you would not expect to be able to maintain that car by yourself, unless you are a mechanic. Why would you then expect to maintain and fix your relationship, even after years of experience in it, without proper education? Our parents did not get help with their relationship because help was simply unavailable. Our parents also experienced multiple barriers to divorce and often settled for less. Inadvertently, they also taught us to feel embarrassed for seeking help. In reality, your family will probably be very supportive and even proud of you learning how to improve communication with your loved one.
2. I am concerned I may be judged and blamed in marriage counseling.
People sometimes feel that they are being placed under a magnifying glass in couple therapy and their relationship is criticized and they are blamed for the issues. In order to address this legitimate concern we assess for couples' strengths and points of good compatibility along with an assessment of areas where they can improve. It is our experience that both partners contribute to the dynamics in their relationship. We do not blame one partner or the other. You will learn to see both your own and your partner's contribution to the issues.
3. We will give it a 100% and not see results.
This feeling of hopelessness is typical to partners who have been struggling with the issues on their own for a long time. It is our experience that any issue can be worked through when both partners are willing to work on it with the guidance of an experienced and caring marriage & family therapist.
4. Marriage counseling is unnatural.
This is true. Counseling is not as organic as working through the issues on your own. However, by the same token it is unnatural to have surgery when you need it. The organic thing would be to deal with it on your own. Needless to say, we all know the probable natural outcome of this! Most people choose to see a specialist when confronted by a health issue. It makes sense to see one when you are confronted by relationship issues.
If someone is absolutely against counseling, it is impossible, and even unethical, to persuade them to participate. However, if your partner has ambivalent feelings about it, you can do something to help them decide to join you.
1. Be direct.
It is important to not manipulate your partner into marriage counseling. Simply say "We have been trying to resolve the issues ourselves. Clearly, it hasn't worked. I would like you to join me in marriage counseling."
2. Be specific.
People respond better to something concrete in front of them. Say "I have found a marriage counselor in our area. It is within our budget and they offer convenient hours. They are available to see us next week. I will arrange for someone to stay with the kids. How about 11am next Saturday?"
3. Offer to attend one consultation rather than signing up for therapy.
Say something like "I know, marriage counseling sounds big and feels like we have failed at our relationship. How about, instead of jumping into counseling, we get one consultation with a specialist and see if we feel comfortable with them. Then we can decide whether we want to go ahead or not."
4. Get personal advice.
If you have tried the above and your partner is still not willing to join you, arrange an individual session for yourself. You would be surprised how much you can change the dynamic in your relationship by positioning yourself differently.
As an alternative to marriage counseling and therapy for couples we developed a program consisting of supportive consultations for couples on coping with medical issues. Part of our interest is how couples are affected by issues such as postpartum depression and chronic illness in children. In addition, we are helping couples cope with medical issues such as coronary heart disease, cancer, chronic pain, fertility problems, respiratory disorders, HIV/AIDS. Such episodes of critical illness have a significant impact on the couple. The partner who is experiencing the symptoms may feel guilty about placing additional demands on the spouse. He or she may also feel that they are not getting the right support from their partner even though the partner is trying to help. This usually happens due to miscommunication between partners. The partner who is not experiencing medical symptoms at the time may feel tired and emotionally drained because the illness usually places demands on both partners. We help couples communicate openly about their needs and establish a safe, non-judgmental environment in which parnters can re-negotiate established roles, responsibilities and boundaries.
|Copyright © 2008 Vitali Rosen|