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  • How Does Couples Counseling Work?

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    How Does Couples Counseling Work?

    You may have questions about couples counseling, such as, what will we discuss and do?

    This blog aims to help you understand more about couples counseling to make it less scary so you can experience the benefits of a thriving relationship.

    Before delving into that, I want to address common fears associated with couples counseling and what the couples counselors at our agency will not do.

    First, couples counseling does not humiliate the male partner for being male.

    I’ve seen a Facebook ad headline suggesting: Does couples counseling make the male partner feel humiliated?

    That is not the goal. Humiliation is not a feeling that brings positive change; we do not side with the female partner just because she’s female.

    However, we will be direct with couples. If one partner does something that hinders their goals, we will remind them and encourage them to change.

    For example, we can’t indulge in anger often and then expect our partner to feel safe enough for sex.

    We must address the anger for the goal of more sex to be met.

    We do not side with males or females. We side with what is healthy for the relationship and your goals.

    Couples counseling also addresses the negative cycle and pattern in which you two engage and will guide you out of it.

    For example, when partners are not at their best, one may show up as an angry pursuer, and the other may as a judgmental withdrawer. Another typical cycle is a controlling CEO and a disgruntled employee.

    These perpetual cycles keep couples in disconnection and resentment.

    So, identifying negative cycles couples engage in is to make them explicit and let people know this happens when you two are not at your best.

    We give you two a roadmap out of the cycle and help you understand that several factors contribute to it, including your family of origin.

    Couples counseling will also talk about your family of origin.

    The reason we talk about it is not to vilify your parents but to create less shame and more empathy and understanding.

    Behaviors that add to the negative cycle are often reflexes learned while growing up.

    These reflexes come from what was modeled and how you had to protect yourself growing up.

    In terms of modeling, did one parent indulge in anger or operate overly selfishly? The subtle communicated message is that you get to act that way when you’re older and in a relationship.

    Or, in terms of protecting yourself, if one parent indulged in anger:

    • Did you have to get loud and angry to stick up for yourself?
      • Was that the only way to get heard?
    • Or did you protect yourself by withdrawing and becoming small?

    Whatever it is, it’s essential to know that it may have been adaptive then, but it’s maladaptive now.

    As couples counselors, we help partners identify their reflexive adaptations and guide them to operate from the centered adult part of themselves, which is open, flexible, and understanding.

    Couples counseling also focuses on the good.

    We build on all the strengths that couples have.

    We also guide you two on appreciating what you’re getting more.

    We help you two build emotional, physical, and sexual connections.

    We also guide you two on how to be more collaborative.

    Conclusion

    This is the bare bones of how couples counseling works. Of course, there is more nuanced as every couple is unique. And that is the benefit of couples counseling, as our service is catered just to you two.

    If you’d like to spend less time in your negative patterns and more in connection and harmony, contact us today to set up your free initial consultation with one of our couples counselors.

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