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5 Ways to Get the Most from Marriage Counselling

Counselling is much more than listening to a trained professional tell the patient what to do. It involves choosing to participate in your own healing. That means the roles of you and your spouse must be active rather than passive. By going into marriage counselling with the following resolves in mind, the odds of getting the most from the experience are much higher.

Dig Deep

One of the things couples are encouraged to do at workshops & retreats is to look beyond the obvious and dig a little deeper. What sort of feelings are hiding just behind the ones that you readily identify? The key to overcoming whatever is troubling the marriage may lie in those unexplored feelings.

Perhaps you are angry about something that was said or done. What other feelings did those actions trigger? Are you feeling embarrassment, rejection, or helplessness? It may mean digging into areas you would rather avoid, but the effort will pay off.

Own Your Feelings

It's not unusual for professionals offering marriage counselling in Calgary to encourage the use of “I" statements. Instead of projecting feelings onto your partner, own your feelings by stating “I think" or “I feel." The point is to articulate what is happening inside in a way that makes it clear what is going on inside while avoiding accusations.

Give Each Other the Benefit of the Doubt

Whatever you think has happened, your spouse may have a different view. Instead of assuming the worst about what your partner thinks or says, try to assume the best. There may be more to the story than what you have seen or experienced up to this point. While this can be hard to do, stepping back and trying to be as objective as you can often makes it easier to resolve problems in a way that's acceptable to both of you.

Set Aside Time to Spend Together

Many marriage counsellor services recommend that couples intentionally set aside time to be alone. That means doing more than showing up together for counselling sessions. Even when the couple is living apart, committing to meeting for lunch or dinner a couple times each week and just talking is helpful. At the least, it will make communication during the sessions easier.

Demand More of Yourself Than Of Your Spouse

In order for counselling or any marriage workshop in Calgary to work, both parties must be actively committed to the effort. Even so, you are in a better position to determine what you want to happen. Focus more on setting personal goals that move you toward that outcome, and spend less time thinking about what your partner should do. Assuming both spouses use this approach, the odds of coming to a consensus of where the relationship should go will be better.

The goal of counselling is to support the couple as they determine what sort of future they will pursue. In many cases, that future involves staying together and moving past whatever obstacles brought them to the counsellor. Enter the effort with a commitment to be actively involved and the two of you are more likely to find the path that is best.

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Ken is a certified psychotherapist that specializes in a powerful approach called Gestalt Therapy that focuses on building a person's awareness, self-esteem and mind-body connection.

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