(Closed) How does counseling help?

posted 6 years ago in Relationships
Post # 3
263 posts
Helper bee

It depends on what you want to get out of it, and how good your counselor is. In my experience, it can be good for teaching healthy methods of communication, conflict resolution, etc.

It won’t just make problems go away, but like regular counseling, it helps you learn how to work through the problems and come to healthy solutions for them. Done well, it builds lifelong healthy habits.

Post # 4
7902 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

It depends on why you go, but one important thing to remember is that you may end up realizing the problems can’t be solved and the relationship can’t be salvaged. Sometimes people assume the goal is to save a relationship, but really the goal is to help you better understand yourself, your partner, and the relationship.

Post # 5
1347 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Couples can go to counseling together for all kinds of problems – communication, intimacy, anything that is causing stress or problems in the relationship. A good counselor (and make sure that the person you are seeing is licensed to practice therapy – not all “counselors” are licensed… at least not in my home state) will work with a couple to talk through problems in a new way. The counselor is there to be a neutral third party (that is, they won’t take sides), shed light on different aspects of the relationship, ask you questions that help you talk to each other. 

A good counselor will let you and your partner do most of the talking, and isn’t there to give advice the whole time. 

Post # 6
485 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

Counseling is only helpful if the person/people participating is/are really interested in making changes and/or supporting their partner in their changes. 

Having said that….. I think almost ANY issue would be able to be resolved with good counseling.  Sometimes, though, the *resolution* isn’t always what you wanted it to be when you began counseling.

*Couples* or relationship counseling is a bit different than *individual* counseling…. in that relationship counseling doesn’t necessarily assign “blame” on one person.  It looks more at the dynamic of the *relationship* and how to make the *relationship* meet the goals of the couple.  *Individual* counseling will help ONE of you make decisions, change behavior in order to determine if you can/should stay in the relationship (or whatever you are looking at that led you to seek counseling).  So, for example, in the case of an angry teen (easiest example) individual counseling would work with the teen on HER responses to people and HER feelings about whatever.  Family counseling would look at how she interacts with her mother (or whomever) and would try to coach EACH of them to be more effective in how they communicate.  Which means that EACH person has to do some of the *work* even though to look at the teen, she is mouthy and moody.  make sense?

How it works……for couples counseling typically you will go in and give some history.  What brought you there, what are you goals for the relationship, what do you think you are doing to help the relationship, what concerns do you have?  That kind of thing.  If there is a specific issue that let you to seek counseling you should disclose that at the first session.

Then, the counselor should meet with each of you individually.  They’ll go a little bit more in depth with each person.   

Then you meet again as a couple.  At that session (so it would be the 4th session) the counselor will sortof give an overview of what they think would be the most effective path.  They’ll ask for input and if you guys are willing to do that.

From there…. the success of counseling is really up to the couple.  Are you ready to do the work?  Are you ready to look at YOUR OWN behaviors and how you help/hurt the success of the relationship.  Effective *couples* counseling should NEVER be about getting one person to change.  Even if the *issues* are skewed (ie – physical abuse or drug use) the other person has been functioning in that dynamic…. so they have as much (if not sometimes more) WORK to do to change they way they have reacted so that a healthy dynamic can begin to develop.


I will say, for me, couples counseling was not effective for THAT relationship (the one I was in when we sought counseling).  However, it has made a world of difference in my life and my current relationship.  It enabled me to look at ME, which is the only part that I can control, and that has given me the ability to understand how to look for a partner (of any sort) that is healthy and complements me rather than continuing dysfunctional cycles.

Post # 7
1026 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I think it’s helpful to have a third, unbiased opinion. Good counselors will help you communicate with one another more effectively. Sometimes they point things out that the couple may not realize.

It’s interesting, I have thought before that I have told my s/o something a million times, and he does not understand, but when repeated by the counselor hes like “ohhh, it all makes sense now!” lol. it’s really helpful but the two people really need to be open and honest with it. 

Post # 8
11356 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

I agree with @QuietOne: . 

My Darling Husband and I share many similar beliefs and core values; however, we think, communicate, and prioritize VERY differently.  We definitely have benefitted from couple’s counseling. Not only did we have to deal with most of the usual issues that newly married couples face but also we had the additional factors involved with an LDR dating relationship, LDR/commuter marriage for almost the entire first year, the merger of one person who had been married before for about two decades and had children (my DH) with someone who had never been married and had no children (me), eventual relocation and relinquishing of a career (me/mine), transitioning from a major metro area to a very small town in a very rural setting (again, me.), etc. Our counselor has helped us to recognize our own (and each other’s) “wounds” and “triggers” better and to communicate more clearly and effectively with each other.


Post # 11
9142 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

It provides two things: 1) a referee/guide; and 2) safe environment.

The counselor is there to serve as a guide and assist you and your SO in having conversations and to an extent learning how to disagree or argue and hopefully work things out.  They serve as a referee to calm people down and/or prevent things from getting out of hand.  The counselor can suggest topics and ask questions that will help you and your SO communicate more effectively and, ideally, honestly.

The counseling room provides a safe, neutral environment for you and your SO to be on equal footing for communication.  A lot of times spouses have developed certain habits a home to deal with communication issues and by using a neutral space, the parties can get out of those habits.  An example of a habit would be for one spouse to leave the room during an argument effectively ending the argument.  Sometimes this is good and sometimes this is bad for the relationship.

When you’ve been with someone for a long time bad habits are difficult to identify and break.  A counselor can help you with that.  I personally don’t think it’s very effective unless both spouses are equally committed to the counseling and if a couple that is not yet married is having enough problems to warrant counseling (I am talking major relationship counseling, not the standard premarital counseling that officiants and licenses sometimes require) then they need to seriously reconsider getting married.

Post # 12
263 posts
Helper bee

Counseling can be done pre-emptively. You don’t have to be at each others’ throats to recognize that there’s room for growth.

Also, EVERY couple has problems. If you’re expecting a ride off into the sunset and a hollywood happily ever after, you’re going to be disappointed by life. But if you love someone, you choose to work through the differences. Marriage is HARD. Really hard. If you’re not ready to do the hard work (which can be made more effective with proper use of counseling), you’re probably not ready to be married at all, no matter to whom.

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