What to expect during a relationship counselling session?
My partner and I have decided to go to counselling together. It's my first time going so I'm unsure of what to expect, I feel a little nervous in case i forget to mention something.
Were going because we both want to work on our anger. When we fight it often escalates to the point where one or both of us reach the end of our tether and things get broken or things get physical. We both hate ourselves afterwards and wish it never happened.
Besides this our relationship is great, we dont cause harm to eachother intentionally its only when emotions are involved and it takes over our rational thinking so we need help dealing with this because it's obviously a massive problem that we cant fix ourselves.
I've tried to manage my anger myself and it never works. I feel so bad about it because I feel like I'll never get over this issue and that I'll never be able to control my emotions. I'm sure my partner feels the same way. Can a counselor really help??
Hi Auschic and welcome to BB forums
You've asked a very good question. I've never been to relationship counselling however I have seen psychologists for quite a number of years. Some have been extremely helpful in my recovery. So yes counselling does help!
Like anything you get your good, your okay, and your not so good. Hopefully the person you are seeing is good. Here's some of what to expect:
An experienced counsellor generally starts by asking questions to get you to think and to talk about the your problems.
A good counsellor sets one at ease and comfortable. Counselling is about developing trust so you are comfortable and safe talking about very personal and extremely difficult issues. A professional and ethical counsellor allows both to tell their side of issues they're struggling with.
- is information gathering
- sets ground rules and boundaries for sessions
- talks about confidentiality, mandatory reporting situations, policies about cancellations, what methodologies they use
- take a brief history. Covers issues or problems, as well as a history of your relationship. Questions maybe:-
•What issues you experience in your relationship?
•How long issues have been a problem?
•Have you been to relationship counselling before?
•What both of you have done to resolve issues?
•What is your expectation of counselling?
Usually both people in the relationship attend a couples counselling together, at least initially. Some counsellors and some clients find it beneficial to see the counsellor individually, in turn, before meeting up again as a couple.
The counsellor may use several different methods in the counselling process, e.g.
•openly discussing difficult topics
•analyzing behavioural patterns and the ways one communicate
•teaching techniques to help improve communication methods
•asking about childhood and family history
•pointing out discrepancies in behaviour.
Some set projects or practice tasks between sessions (like homework). E.g. giving an assignment about how to touch each other (give a massage that is not sexual in nature), or you may be asked to record your feelings or arguments in a diary and report back on the experience.
Does any of this help you Auschic?
While my situation is different to yours My husband & I have had counselling. One thing we found helpful was having some time together & then spending time individually with the counsellor. This allows you to give you own perspective of what is happening without the other party being present. Afterwards we were together again & the discussion was able to be really focussed on what needed changing so the counselor could get both of us to agree on the changes we needed to make to succeed. By following the strategies we both agreed on we have been able to avoid getting caught up in the negative cycles which previously led to conflict.
I share this to provide some encouragement by showing how couples counselling can work when both parties are prepared to engage in the process.