What makes couples counselling so specialized?
Couple counselling, marriage counselling or family therapy all mean the same thing. Couple counselling requires specialized training to manage the interpersonal dynamics that occur when two or more people are in conflict or misunderstanding each other. What complicates couples counselling is that each person; is often wanting to be seen as being in the right; has differing vested energy in the relationship; has various undisclosed agendas; is wanting for their voice to be heard and believed over their partner. So many things can go wrong during couples counselling; perceived bias towards one of the parties due to gender differences; the probability of conflict between the parties within the session; people feeling judged or exposed; feeling like the other party is speaking more or is one up or winning! All of these dynamics need to be managed delicately and if not will result in a negative experience and couples dissatisfied with the service they have received. It also requires a specialized form of skill training and experience to ensure that common ground is established, points of agreement are established and motivation between couples in maintained to work against the problems and not each other.
Counselling is usually about change.
If you’re considering going to counselling, then the chances are that you want something to be different. Maybe you want to feel or act differently or are holding hopes for a relationship to change.
You might want to make sense of something or get a better understanding of a situation or open to understanding another’s point of view. Maybe you want to get something sorted out or a fresh perspective on a concern or difficulty and agreeing to go to counselling can be a good way to do it.
Whether you want to stop or start or step sideways, creating new possibilities about how to live and move forward is about doing, seeing and making new meanings of past or present situations. Especially during times of crisis and stress, consulting with a professional who is trained in helping you to take back control of your life can make all the difference. During such times it is important to seek out someone who is competent in supporting you to make the changes you want and is and skilled in generating ways and developing your ability to live your life more fully.
Different counsellors work using different approaches so it is useful to inquire about the method a counsellor uses to bring about changes in your life. Counsellors view their work in different ways but many agree that facilitating change is central. You come to counselling because you want something to be different. Your counsellors role is to help you identify and understand the differences you want. They ideally will help you recognize, connect with and develop your resources, skills and experiences to make the desired changes required.
Narrative Therapy in particular, offers people a unique opportunity to reconnect with skills, competencies and personal expertise that are often sidelined or dismissed during times of stress or crisis and through doing so open up and forge new ways forward for you, or for your significant other that you may be experiencing difficulties with.