To many, couples therapy is a prospect that’s both daunting and full of hope. Some choose to seek it after suffering a personal tragedy that’s affecting the relationship. Others may try a therapist in a bid to avoid divorce, make divorce easier for their children, or recover following infidelity. Whatever your reasons are, we understand that this is a big step towards a better relationship. At East Bay Relationship Center, we’re here to provide you with some tips for ensuring your therapy sessions are successful.
Dedicate time to couples therapy
It’s important not to view couples therapy as a tick box exercise that’ll magically improve your relationship. This is a process that needs time and energy. Always enter each therapy session as though it’s a priority, which means no clock watching and always switch off from the world outside. Additionally, dedicate time to building the relationship outside of couples therapy, especially if that’s what your therapist recommends.
Reflect on your objectives for being in therapy
At first glance, this may seem obvious. You’re entering into therapy because you want to make your relationship better. However, if you’re going to get more from the sessions, you’ll reflect on what it is that you want to improve.
For example, do you feel as though a lack of communication skills is harming your relationship? Or, maybe you need to regain trust after breaking it? Reflecting on your objectives now gives you a source of motivation for working through the tougher parts of therapy in the future.
Complete your therapist’s homework
Don’t worry; couples therapy doesn’t require you to walk away and research psychological techniques. But your therapist may give you homework that aims to strengthen your relationship.
Common examples of this include spending time with one another free from distractions. Or, we may ask you to reflect upon what it is that made you fall in love with your partner. We often find that our clients struggle with some aspects of their homework. However, when they do persist with the tasks we recommend, they get more from each therapy session.
Accept that you may need to make some changes
Depending on why you’re trying couples therapy, you may have the feeling that your partner is the person to blame for everything. This can also depend on who you are in the couple and how you feel about the event that brings you to therapy. For example, if you’re a spouse who has been cheated on, you’re likely to see your partner as the sole reason for your current arguments. Conversely, if you’re on the other side of the argument, you may feel as though you’re the primary catalyst.
No matter who you are within the relationship, entering couples therapy with the acceptance that you need to change is important. There will always be instances where one person carries more blame than the other. However, being open to changes regarding perception and other challenges will take you far.
Avoid all or nothing statements
Although many of our clients make an active effort not to insult one another, they do so accidentally by using all or nothing statements. Such statements either start with “You always” or “You never.” It’s rare that someone is either always or never doing something, yet when you make them feel that way you downplay the things they do right. Try to spend some time catching yourself thinking about these statements and ask yourself whether they’re true. By doing so when you’re not in a therapy session, you’re less likely to do so while at our center.
If you’d like to learn more about our approach to couples therapy in Pleasanton, CA, or to make an appointment, call 510-748-0640.