Couples Counseling | Columbia, Mo
One of the most cited reasons people come in for couples counseling is "communication." Some might make jokes and say, "or lack thereof." Some might even struggle to voice it, such is the weight of their anxiety about being in couples counseling, as well as their distress with their relationship.
The "Truth" about Communication and Couples Counseling
Here's the "truth" The vast majority of people in relationships struggle at one point or another (for a variety of reasons).
It is unbelievably common for people to come into couples counseling and report that they "love each other very much, but just can't seem to connect." As though they're steadily missing one another when they reach out to grab each other, or that they've even given up on reaching out because of feeling so hopeless and confused, utterly unsure of what to do or how to move forward. There's also the alternative, people who aren't sure about their relationship or about being in couples counseling, but want to try to make it work at least one more time before throwing in the towel. They see couples counseling as a last ditch effort. Or they're feeling completely ambivalent and are more interested in discernment than anything else. And guess what? All of the above is normal and expected for couples counseling - none of it is a surprise.
Why does communication matter?
To be totally honest, it's whether each partner feels respected, heard, and valued in their relationship. Communication matters because it's important that we can effectively say what we need to and feel understood after doing so. That doesn't mean there's a cookie-cutter style of communication that works for everybody, but wanting to feel understood is pretty standard (and expected).
The beauty is that we can make feeling heard, valued, and understood happen through communication. That communication can center around triggers, wants, needs, and feelings, or it can center around logistical sorts of information (i.e. you pick up the kids on this day).
When we're not being honest about what we need and/or if we're not communicating it clearly, then our partner doesn't really have the option of 'being there' in relation to that need.
Disclaimer: When we're talking about conflict, however, that's different. The way you argue does matter.
What can we expect when we come in for couples counseling?
You can expect to have a structured first session, where we'll walk through your problems, your expectations for counseling, your romance (i.e. your story, if you will), and have a brief discussion where you try to resolve a disagreement. All of these steps are purposeful and will shed light on important aspects of your relationship. After the first session, you can expect to engage primarily with one another (with guidance from the counselor, of course) and work on new ways of communicating with each other - ways that feel validating, understanding, and empathic.
Why would we engage with each other and not the couples counselor?
The reason why you'll be primarily interacting with one another and not the couples counselor? Simple. Because your counselor isn't going home with you. The purpose of relationship counseling, and specifically working on communication, is so that each person has new tools and ways of interacting compared to what they came in with. It's not for the counselor to explain things in a heady sort of way and stay as involved in your conversation as possible. It's for you to learn and implement new ways of interaction in a setting where you can be guided when things go wrong.
How do we know this is going to work?
This is probably my favorite part. The Counseling Hub works with couples based on the Gottman Method Couples Therapy, which is centered around nine principles for successful, lasting, happy, healthy relationships, AND (best part) based on 40 years of research. Yes, four decades of research, studying couples, and figuring out exactly what successful relationships had and what unsuccessful relationships were lacking.
With that said, couples counseling doesn't work if you aren't willing to put in the effort, work, and commitment to try to make it work.
Great, now what?
Now you can call to set up a session or, if you'd rather email, email our Client Liaison to ask any questions you might have or get scheduled today!