Author: Elly Prior | First published: 24-09-2010 | Modified: 27-10-2017
In couple counselling - marriage guidance counselling, relationship counselling or pre-marriage counselling, the counsellor aims to give both you and your partner equal time and attention. This helps you each to get your side of the story across, without interruptions or rows.
Relationship counselling can be very helpful even if your partner doesn't want to go. The therapist will be able to help you without judging either one of you, and remaining aware of 'the empty seat'.
This articles will help you get a better insight into what exactly happens in couples therapy, and how it can help you and your partner navigate those troubled waters.
Not at all keen on seeing a therapist? Read on...
I know there are lots of reasons why people don't like the idea of counselling - let alone relationship counselling. However, you can turn the tide all by yourself if your partner seems to have lost the will to work on your relationship.
If that sounds familiar, the best resource I can recommend - whether or not your partner is willing to help to make things better - is Save My Relationship/Marriage by Lee Baucom, PhD.
In my view, too many therapists 'dabble' in relationship counselling. They think that they can do the job based on their training for working with individuals.
Couples counselling techniques are very different! No doubt, you'll now want to know how you can make sure you're going to see the right professional. I've got your back! Read my article on how to find a good (relationship) counsellor to discover what questions to ask.
Assuming you have found the right counsellor, here's the kind of relationship help and advice you can expect...
Seeking professional help can make it easier for you to decide what the future might hold for each of you, and for you as a couple.
A couples counsellor knows that often one of the partners is coming along to the sessions reluctantly. A good therapist will make every effort to help that person feel at ease.
Of course, a partner may also be reluctant if he or she is having an affair. Naturally they fear being found out. An experienced relationship counsellor will sense when there's information missing... but won't be able to read minds!
If both you and your partner agree that counselling is what you need right now, you can seize the moment and get started straight away. Online relationship counselling can make it even easier to access the support and guidance you need. Scroll down to the blue box at the end of this page if you're ready to start today. There's no time like the present! ;-)
Pre-marriage counselling is a really good idea before you tie the knot. So many problems can be sorted before you both commit yourself to the marriage, including...
... general communication problems
... issues with in-laws
... financial problems
... problems with the children (if it's not your first marriage)
... sexual problems
It may feel difficult to get the relationship you want when it seems so much is stacked up against you. You might feel it's impossible to stop the marriage preparations. The thought of telling your future wife or husband that you're worried may fill you with horror. Yet in secret, you wonder if you should go ahead with it at all.
The good news is that you could perhaps consider talking to your partner about making a really positive step. You're much more likely to get a positive answer if you say you want to invest in your lives together by going for pre-marriage counselling.
If you're both committed to sorting things out, there's every chance that you can have the marriage you want. Professional relationship advice can certainly help you on your way.
Often one of the partners doesn't want to go for couple counselling - for whatever reason. Very often it's the male partner. If you really think that counselling can help and your partner won't go, then you can start by yourself. Your partner may decide to join you at a later stage.
Counselling doesn't always have to be face-to-face. If you're ready to get started, you can speak to an online licensed therapist today.
Just watch this video from the University of Rochester to discover how watching movies about long-term relationships can cut the divorce rate by half...
Did you take notice of the advice to talk about your own relationship after watching the movie together?
Not sure at all that you want to save your relationship or marriage? This Relationship Compatibility Quiz will help you think through all the important issues so that you can make the right decision.
Or, do you suspect that your partner may be about to leave you? In this case, I want you to be prepared. It's all too easy to do all the wrong things, like becoming 'clingy' with constant texting, phone calls etc. To find out what you should be doing, hop over to my page on how to stand any chance of a reconciliation.
Sorting out your 'personal stuff' is very likely to have a positive impact on your interactions with your partner. You may have been trying to pretend for years that you're over those emotional problems! However, deep down you know that they are still there.
Just think how much better you could be feeling if you finally dealt with all that 'stuff' - traumas and difficulties from the past. It could release emotional and physical energy that you could re-invest in other areas of your life. It's also very likely to contribute towards you having the relationship you want.
Take that first step now and ask the advice of a qualified online counsellor for support and advice. I promise you - it is confidential, you won't even need to give your real name if you don't want to.
Perhaps you've tried all you can to try and save your relationship or marriage, including marriage guidance or couples counselling. Maybe you can see no other way forward but to end your relationship.
If you're ending your relationship, I anticipate that you might struggle for a while - emotionally for sure, but also socially and financially. It's completely normal at this time to suffer grief, feel low/depressed, out of control, angry, upset and so on.
Don't let anybody tell you when you should be over that!
A couples counsellor should be happy to discuss with you, at first contact, what you can expect from marriage guidance or couple counselling.
However, he or she is unlikely to have a lengthy conversation with you about your difficulties. This is to prevent starting the journey with a knowledge of the problem from one partner's perspective only. But you'd be very welcome to chat about what it's like to go for relationship counselling or pre-marriage counselling.
Really not keen on going for couples counselling?
Want to have another go at sorting it yourself?
Remember my advice earlier on this page - you can make a real difference all by yourself with Save my Marriage/Relationship.
Good luck - I know you can do it!
I really hope this article is of help to you. :-)
I frequently update my articles based on feedback, therefore I really value your vote. If you think I've missed something, please do let me know in the comment section below.
Thank you so much in anticipation. :-)
Free or Affordable Counselling
How to Find a Counsellor
What are the Human Givens?
Divorce Advice and Counselling
How to Choose the Best Divorce Lawyer
How to Get over a Nervous Breakdown
How to Survive Infidelity
University of Rochester - Divorce Rate Cut in Half
International Association for Relationship Research