So what happens in marriage counseling? Is there a set program of events and activities?
A marriage counselor is there to try and help heal emotional wounds and guide the couple towards a better even excellent relationship. The counselor is not there to find blame or to take sides. In fact some couples change their counselor if they believe the therapist is favoring one partner.
Blame is not part of the equation. The counselor is there to discover the problems and the cause of the problems and then provide strategies for the couple to put into practice. The program of activities suggested by the counselor is only a small part of the recovery process. The hard work comes when the couple returns home and seeks to put into practice what they have discussed and learnt in the counseling session.
Do not worry about the activities suggested by the counselor. They will be set in a way which enables you to achieve what is required. The experienced counselor knows what works with different couples and under which circumstances. You as the couple should feel free to discuss not just your problems but the proposed strategies to solve your problems.
Marriage counseling is a two-way street – the couple and the counselor. What is proposed is open to debate. You should feel free to ask questions and make comments. The counselor is a facilitator but never a referee. Calmness and sensible discussion are the order of the day. There is no place for threats, aggression and certainly not for blame.
Sessions can last an hour or more and always seek to build on what has been achieved. The counseling process is a forward-moving one. What have we put into practice and what has been the result? How can we improve? What needs to be changed to further improve the relationship?
One mistake some couples make is that they expect the marriage counselor to fix their troubled marriage. This is never the case. The marriage problems are healed by the couple using the advice and assistance of the counselor. There is no magic cure. Couples must be prepared to take advice and to work hard if they wish their marriage to succeed.
Sessions are formally informal in that the atmosphere is relaxed and everyone is free to comment and participate. One key rule is that of respect for both yourself and the others in the session.
Remember the basics such as selecting the right counselor for you, not using someone either or both partners knows and be prepared to be honest and work hard. If you follow these important rules, chances are your marriage can be helped and make a full recovery.
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