3 Tough Truths You Must Face Before Starting Couples Therapy

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Tough Truths You Must Face Before Couples Therapy

If you've never been to couples counseling, you probably have some assumptions about what it will be like. People often bring their misunderstandings and expectations about what they think the process will do for them into the process before it even begins, leaving one or both partners frustrated or disenchanted when they realize it's not what they expected.

If you’re planning on investing your time, energy and money on couples counseling, it's not a bad idea to prepare for the process.

This means being clear on what you can expect (and what you should not expect) from the therapist, as well as ways to get the most "bang for your buck" by making your time there as productive as possible.

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If you and your partner want to strengthen and save your relationship and are considering getting counseling to help you attain that goal, there are a number of things you can both contemplate before your first session.

3 Tough Truths to Consider Before Going to Couples Counseling

1. Be clear that the therapist is not responsible for fixing your relationship.

They are there to guide you in the process of making the necessary changes on your own, which occur mostly outside the office.

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2. Each should consider what your roles have been in the relationship problems.

It's easier to blame the other than to take responsibility. Now's the time to prepare to own your part.

If you're not ready to do that now, that's OK. Just be aware that this will probably come up sooner rather than later in the counseling process.

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3. Each should reflect on what your relationship means to you and whether you're willing to make changes.

When both partners make positive changes that have meaning to the other, it serves as reinforcement and is a catalyst for more positive change. At this time, making changes could seem difficult but this too will probably be explored in the counseling process.

When high levels of anger and resentment are present, it is challenging to get to the place of owning your role, let alone be willing to change! This is perfectly normal.

The important point here is that considering the above three tips prior to your first session will allow time for you to think about what will likely come up at some point in the sessions. It's good food for thought prior to jumping in — regardless of whether you're presently "there" or not.

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Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT, is a therapist with a private practice. She is also a writer and creator of one of the original therapist-created resource websites.