If you’re interested in a career as a counselor, you may want to offer marriage counseling services. A high percentage of marriages ending in divorce, so counseling is frequently used in an attempt to repair damaged relationships. As the Huffington Post notes, done right, couples counseling can be extremely effective.
For counseling to work, couples need to have the right attitude and goals. Should you become a counselor, here are some things that you might want to discuss or ask individuals to do when they come to you for help.
People Should Have Goals For Themselves
While a marriage is about a partnership, each person in a relationship has to contribute to it. It’s good for a couple to set certain goals, such as spending more time together or working together to create a budget, but individuals should be aware that their behavior may also need modification. Examples of personal goals may be to try to avoid starting fights when feeling stressed or to be more patient with their spouse. No single person in a relationship is perfect, so people should be aware that they may need to make personal changes to make a marriage work.
Couples Need To Be Open About Emotions
One common source of marital issues is when people refuse to talk to their spouse about how their partner’s actions make them feel. This may stem from believing that their spouse has ignored them in the past, but whatever the reason, many people in a struggling marriage get into the habit of hiding or bottling up their emotions. For counseling to work, individuals need to start being open about their feelings, which can be both difficult and uncomfortable. Before starting counseling, people will need to understand that a large part of the process will be talking openly about their emotions.
Individuals Should Be Willing To See Things From A Partner’s Perspective
It’s very common for people in struggling relationships to complain that their spouse never thinks about their feelings. However, this person may be just as guilty of ignoring how their spouse thinks or feels about a situation. In many cases, after several years of feeling ignored or slighted, someone may stop even trying to look at things from their partner’s perspective. If a person isn’t willing to at least try to put themselves in their partner’s shoes, counseling is not likely to be helpful.
Couples Counseling Can’t Fix Addiction And Mental Illness
Before starting marriage counseling, individuals should understand that relationship issues caused by drug abuse, alcoholism or mental illness will not be fixed by marriage counseling. Individual counseling or medical treatment is likely to be the necessary course of action to resolve these problems. This is not to say that counseling cannot help couples who have had a marriage damaged due to these problems, but couples counseling alone cannot solve the underlying issues.
Counseling May Not Save A Marriage, And That’s Okay
When couples decide to get counseling, they may be relying on this process to save their marriage. While this is quite possible, and people who attend counseling often are able to stay together, counseling may also be about determining that two people are not right for each other. If individuals have a relationship that is damaged beyond repair or one person is not willing to work past a couple’s issues, then counseling may help them discover their relationship is unworkable. It is often better for people in these circumstances to part ways than to continue in a broken marriage.
Related Resource: The Top 10 Online Marriage and Family Counseling Degree Programs
Marriage counseling can help a couple improve and save their marriage. However, for the process to work, people have to be willing to do some things that may make them uncomfortable or go against ingrained habits. Counselors should help couples understand how to approach the process to get the most out of it.