What You Can Expect from a Couples Therapist

Posted by on Jun 30, 2019 in Couples Counseling | Comments Off on What You Can Expect from a Couples Therapist

There are three factors that determine how successful couples therapy will be. These include

  • the level of commitment to the relationship
  • a willingness to make changes
  • work with a couples therapist

However, finding a good and useful therapist can be a challenge if you don’t know what to look for. Consider the following :

7 Traits in a Knowledgeable & Effective Couples Therapist

1. A Firm Hold on the Reins

First, a couples therapist will have a firm hold on the reins of a therapy session. This is so that they don’t get sucked in to regular interruptions that can lead couples down unproductive paths. For example, you and your partner start bickering about a minor issue that threatens to derail the whole session.

These kinds of distractions only make it harder for you both to make progress. Indeed, you will instead feel that you are backsliding and not moving forward. Hence, it’s important that a good couples therapist intervenes in order to get the session back on track.

2. Teaching Effective Communication Skills

Next, any potential couples therapist needs to be effective at teaching communication skills. These include techniques both to express yourself as well as being able to listen respectfully. That way each person will feel understood.  Of course, understanding is critical for resolving any relationship conflict.

3. A Couples Therapist Knows How to Deescalate an Argument

Another skill shown by effective couples therapists is that they both practice and teach how to deescalate an argument.

Arguments can flare up in sessions when emotions are raw. The therapist will be able to bring either of you (or both) back down so that the discussion can continue. However, you also need to know how to deescalate arguments outside of the session. This is so that things don’t get out of hand and to preserve both emotional and physical safety.

4. Encouraging Clients to Focus on Themselves

Often, in couples counseling, one partner will try to blame the other partner for the problems of the relationship. You might do this by attempting to focus attention onto your partner. The argument is that your partner needs to make changes in order for the relationship to succeed.

An effective couples therapist will pick up on this trick. They can intervene by redirecting that attention. In couples therapy, the therapist will maintain that both partners will have issues that they need to work on.

5. Putting Things in Context

It’s important to take each other’s behaviors, habits, and traits and to put them into context with the bigger picture. Each of you will most likely have behavior patterns learned from the past that now influence the current relationship. These patterns could have been learned from your parents when growing up. Or, they developed from past romantic relationships.

Either way, some of these patterns might be negatively impacting your present relationship. Therapy can help with studying these origins. Yet, it’s also important for both of you not to dwell on them either.  

6. Talking to One Another

In order for couples’ counseling to work, both of you need to effectively talk to one another. There is no other way that you can resolve these issues unless there is open and honest dialogue.

At times, one of you will talk over the other. Or, it may be that one of you talks just to hear yourself speak. An effective couples therapist will be able to encourage and facilitate conversation between you.

7. Practicing What They Learned at Home

Finally, you will be encouraged by the couples therapist to practice what you learned in the sessions at home. After all, progress will be slow unless you employ the skills routinely. Also, a good therapist will know that you can’t and shouldn’t be in therapy forever. There ought to be a time when the work they do for you comes to an end.

Of course, while therapy should not be never-ending, you and your partner are always welcome to return for an occasional session as necessary.

Finally, good couples therapists do much more than just watch a couple argue. If you are considering couples counseling, keep these qualities in mind to get the most out of therapy.  

Please read more here for more information about couples therapy or contact me soon for a consultation.

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