Marriage Counseling, 101
We want people to know what they expect when they come into The Counseling Hub for relationship counseling. So, we figured we could pen this post in a matter of minutes and clear the air.
Read on, my friend, and find out if you're in the right place.
1. Couples assessment is key.
The first two sessions are spent on formal (and informal) assessment. And this is SO IMPORTANT. There's no way to emppasize this enough. It's crucial that you and your partner have a rich, thorough assessment. Why, you ask? I'll answer your question with a question. Would you want to go to a doctor with a hurt arm, have them look at it from the outside (but not really touch it and not take any scans), and then tell you it's sprained?
You'd want them to do the right testing to make sure they're actually treating it accurately. It's the same with couples. We can look at it from the outside, but if we're not doing a thorough assessment, then we end up doing you (and your relationship) a huge disservice.
2. You and your partner are going to talk.
This one is so funny. After the assessment and feedback period, you and your partner are doing the vast majority of talking... wait for it... TO EACH OTHER!! Yes, you read me right. The talking that goes on in the sessions is between you and your partner (vast majority of the time). The counselor role is to help you navigate the conversations (way small nutshell version).
The philosophy behind this is that you and your partner are going to be on your own (i.e. without the counselor) once you leave, so we want you to actually learn how to do this. We don't want you to talk to us about your partner, especially when they're right there - we want you to talk to each other.
I could go one about this for days, but I'll leave it at that. Ask me if you have questions, though. ;)
3. You decide the destination, but we help with the navigating.
Here's what I mean. You and your partner are going to have hot button topics in your relationship, you're going to have recent fights, you're going to have old fights with wounds that still haven't healed, and you're going to have a lack of connection between the two of you. You'll have more, but for the sake of right now, let's stick with those things.
We, as counselors, don't care what you talk about. I mean, to an extent, we do - we care that you talk about things that need to be talked about, but that doesn't mean we care what those things are. Does that make sense?
For example, if you need to talk about that time your partner didn't like your spaghetti, we're cool with that! So long as it's actually important and/or meaningful for you. We don't care what you talk about in that it can be any topic that's important to you (read: the counselor doesn't choose the topic).
And, regardless of what the topic is, we'll have a way of helping your process and make sense of it (it = the fight, the disconnection, the lack of seeing eye to eye, etc.).
And that's that.
I've got nothing else to add. We love relationships of any shape and size. While the language we use frequently implies one partner, please note that we work with consensual non-monogamous relationships, as well.
Partner on, my friends!