Monday, April 1, 2013

Making the Most of Couples Therapy

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Most couples do not prepare for meeting with me. Probably because they do not know what to expect. If they do prepare, they tend to consider what their complaints are about the relationship. This is fine, but here are some other things to consider before meeting with your therapist.

Think about what makes your relationship good.  If you are married, think about what you like about being married.  If you are in a committed relationship but unmarried, think about what you like about being in this relationship.

Now think about your goals for therapy.  If therapy is successful, what would you want your relationship to look like?  Perhaps you can recall a time when you felt more connected to your partner.  Perhaps you can imagine a better connection with your partner.  Imagine what that connection would look like.  How would your emotional, physical and sexual relationship be different?

Now consider how you could contribute to the relationship you desire.  What small steps could you take to encourage this change?  Next, think about what you desire from your partner.  How could you encourage your partner to change?  What would attract this motivation to change?

Now consider the barriers within you which would prevent change.  Have you allowed resentment to build?  Are you uncertain in your desire for a connection with your partner?  Are you simply afraid to risk reaching out to your partner for fear that he or she will not reciprocate?

Couples therapy works best when couples are able to reassure each other of their commitment to doing their part to improve their relationship.  How can you communicate this to your partner?  How can you express your desire for your partner's help?  It is important to express this desire for help in a vulnerable tone of voice.

By thinking through these questions, you will be prepared to begin rebuilding your relationship rather than simply distributing blame for your disconnection.

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