Getting some support for making sure your relationship is as happy and healthy as possible is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. There are so many different reasons why relationship counseling might be an amazing choice for you and your loved one, and many things to consider when you’re seeking out professional support. Read on for some advice on when relationship counseling might be beneficial, some tips on searching for support, and how to get the most out of your relationship therapy sessions.
Why Seek Relationship Therapy
It’s a common misperception that relationship therapy should be reserved for couples who are having serious issues and might be seeing separation or divorce on the horizon. However, the reality is that getting support with navigating relationship challenges should come as soon as possible when problems begin to arise, and often even as a preventative measure if big life events occur. For example, if one or both of you is having challenges in expressing feelings with each other, is experiencing a life-changing and emotional event, or an unsolvable disagreement has emerged, then relationship counseling might be just what you need to promote open communication and help you work through challenges together.
Even if there aren’t any red flag issues, checking in with a relationship counselor to get some advice on open communication strategies and collective problem solving can often be the perfect way to prevent any issues before they even begin.
It’s important to remember that there are no wrong reasons for seeking therapy, and a relationship does not have to be defined under a traditional monogamous heterosexual marriage umbrella. Relationship counseling can be beneficial for many different types of pairings: couples who are co-habituating, non-monogamous, members of the LGBTQ community, and even siblings or family members can benefit from relationship therapy!
If you’re looking to ensure that your marriage or lifelong commitment begins with a solid foundation, then one of the best ways to do this is through engaging in some premarital counseling. The focus of this type of counseling is to ensure couples begin their commitment with a mutual understanding of things like values and beliefs, division of family labor, sex and intimacy, starting a family, communication, and finances.
These are just examples of potential discussion topics however they are not necessarily included, so it’s important to ensure that you’re being open and honest about priorities or potential points of conflict so your counselor can help guide you through these conversations together.
Searching for a Therapist
There are so many different types of qualified professionals who might be the perfect fit to provide you with relationship counseling- from clinical psychologists to psychotherapists, to licensed counselors or social workers. When you’re first starting your search it’s always important to ask around and see if you know anyone who might be able to give you a referral. While combing through the internet is always a solid option, it can often be overwhelming when so many results pop up. Make sure you’re sorting by the most convenient location, positive online reviews, and specialization in relationship counseling and support.
Many practitioners often give free introductory consultations, so it’s important to connect with a few different people so you can really get a feel for who you’re comfortable with and who might be the best fit for you and your loved one.
When you’re in the process of searching for relationship counseling, it’s natural to automatically defer to searching for in-person support as that is what people commonly assume works best for them when it comes to therapy. There are many benefits however to trying online therapy and seeing if it’s the best fit for you. Virtual counseling can often be a great option for individuals who are in long-distance relationships, who might be separated, or if one or both partners travel frequently. Additionally, if one or both people in the relationship is uncomfortable with traditional therapy, connecting virtually can often help ease some of those anxieties as each person is connecting from the comfort of their own home.
Virtual therapy can often be more accessible for participants both on a technological and emotional level, so it’s important to make sure you’re considering it as a viable option!
Getting the Most Out of Your Therapy
In order for you and your loved ones to get the most out of your time in therapy, you both have to be willing to be open, vulnerable, and fully engaged. To make sure your relationship counseling is as effective as possible, it’s absolutely crucial to commit to being honest even when it’s challenging. You should also prepare yourself for some discomfort because emotions can be messy and you might be revealing some new and vulnerable truths about yourself. Each participant must be willing to engage in active listening and work to really hear and empathize with the other person. Finally, both participants have to be willing to show up and commit to the process. Whether that means making sure to prioritize appointments in your regular schedules, working through any sort of homework assigned out of session, or committing to practicing the skills and tools that are discussed and agreed upon in session in your regular lives.
Following these practices will help ensure that your time in relationship counseling is productive and that you are on the right path to having a healthy and supportive relationship.
If you’re looking for professional and experienced relationship counselors, you should get in touch with one of our team members at ACT Teletherapy. We have incredible practitioners who specialize in supporting happy and healthy relationship building for individuals, couples, and families, and you will be able to connect to services virtually from the comfort of your own home. Our professional staff will also help ensure that you have everything you need to connect through our virtual platforms, and will answer technology questions that might come up. Book your appointment today and let us support you through all of your mental and emotional health needs.