Couples counseling can be an intimidating concept. No one immediately likes the idea of opening their relationship up to another person, but each year millions of people participate in couples counseling. Many find it to be a healthy and rewarding experience, and in some cases even a way to avoid divorce. Couples can increase these benefits if they take proactive steps beforehand. Learning what to expect, how to prepare, and what success means ahead of time can make the whole process easier and more approachable
What to Expect
Couples counseling is a conversation, sometimes with the counselor and sometimes with each other. While every counselor has a unique style, the early sessions will probably start off with open-ended “getting to know you questions.” The therapist will want to know what brought you to their office, and they will probably want to hear about the history of your relationship as well. The counselor could also split you up for some one-on-one time, or even bring you in for individual appointments so that they can get a better picture of what is going on in the relationship. Then, over the course of the sessions, the therapist will start to act as a neutral moderator, helping the couple openly and honestly discuss their relationship.
How to Prepare
Preparing for your counseling sessions can make them much smoother, especially the very first one. You and your spouse should have a conversation beforehand to understand the issues you want to resolve, so that you can both explain to the therapist what brought you to them. It also pays to research your counselor beforehand. Many have very different styles of counseling and biases either towards or away from marriage. Finding someone who meshes well with you and your spouse can be the key to a successful and rewarding counseling experience.
People come to couples counseling with a wide array of expectations. Some people view it as a means of saving the marriage, others go in thinking that they might want to end the relationship and just need this to be sure, while still others know that they want the relationship to end and think that couples counseling can help with an amiable disentanglement. While couples counseling can help all of these people, they need to be open and honest about why they came there, so that everyone will know what success looks like. At the same time, it is important to be open to whatever may result from the process. Perhaps you went into the counseling believing that the only purpose was saving the marriage only to learn that separation is the best step forward.
If you are looking into filing for divorce and want to know more about your options, contact an Illinois divorce lawyer today. They can help explain your rights and choices to help you make the correct decision for yourself.