If you’re like many couples out there, this coronavirus and the accompanying lockdown has been challenging for your marriage. You’ve seen other couples enjoying the extended time together but you find yourself desperate for time apart. Maybe this is a major reason you have for starting couples counseling.
There are several things you can do to prepare yourself.
First, see if your spouse is on board.
Whether you both agree to go or only one of you wants to, it can still be beneficial. Ask your spouse if they would be willing to go with you, even for just a few sessions. If not, consider going by yourself and sharing your partner’s reasons for not wanting to attend.
Why it is important for everyone to be ready for marriage counseling…
This can be valuable information to shed light on what might be going on in your relationship. The counselor can get a good picture of what your relationship is like even without one of the spouses present in the session. However, it’s still the most beneficial to have both of you there.
Second, prepare ahead of time for the first session.
Take some time over the course of several days before the first session with your counselor to think about your relationship. Write down what your concerns are, what the major events have been, and what you want from counseling.
If you need help with this, talk to friends and family members who know you to get their input. It’s important to get feedback about yourself and not just your spouse, so make sure you’re giving others the opportunity and you’re receptive to them.
Why it’s important to prepare for couples counseling…
Information gathering is critical for therapists to begin to create a clear picture and cohesive story about the two of you and your relationship. The more you can provide upfront, the easier and quicker it will be for your counselor to develop strategies for addressing your issues.
Third, be completely yourself.
Many people want to put their best foot forward when starting counseling. After all, there’s only one chance to make a good impression. Counseling, however, is a very different situation because its very nature is to look at the problems going on in your life as honestly as possible. So the best advice in this regard is to actually be yourself as much as you can. Think more about being yourself – as messy as it may be – and less about what your counselor thinks about you.
Why it is important to be yourself in couples therapy…
If you try and put your best foot forward, you’ll likely revert to using your default defenses which can get in the way of a productive session. Allowing yourself to say the most honest thing you think and feel will give your counselor the chance to know who you really are. This then allows you to be completely accepted and at the same time free to be challenged or confronted in the ways you’re needing.
Lastly, slow down and listen carefully.
Like many first experiences, your first counseling session can feel like a whirlwind that rushes by you quickly. Like I’ve said already, counseling is a unique experience so take the time to go through it slowly. Don’t focus on just getting through it or getting it over with. Be there. Be present. Share openly and honestly, but also listen carefully. You might even consider bringing a notepad and a pen (or using the Notes app on your smartphone) to take notes. Then, throughout the week between sessions, give yourself time to seriously think about what was said.
Why listening during Christian marriage counseling is important…
Your counselor will be observing a lot as they meet with you. Try not to let that worry you or make you feel insecure. They’re simply trying to get to know you, behind all the defenses you put on out in the world. They are also trying to help you, and the things they say are said for a reason. Allow yourself to see yourself from their perspective, through their questions and responses to you in session.
I hope this has been a helpful list and that you’re not feeling more anxious! If you do feel nervous about starting marriage counseling, that’s okay. Your first session may feel that way. If you were able to connect well with your counselor it will get easier. Remember that you’re starting a journey that’s going to have some ups and downs, but is ultimately headed toward health and healing.
BEGIN CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE COUNSELING IN OREGON
Our Clackamas and Hillsboro based counselors are excited to work with you, wherever you are in Oregon. Your relationship can feel more whole and healthy, even in a global pandemic. We can help you get back on track in a way that aligns with your faith and values. When you are ready to start online Christian counseling in Oregon, follow these simple steps:
- Learn about our therapy team in Hillsboro and our caring counselors in Clackamas
- Schedule an appointment with your preferred therapist, or contact us with questions
- Begin feeling more calm, confident, and peaceful, from the comfort of your home.
OTHER MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES AT LIFE DISCOVERY COUNSELING IN OREGON
No matter what you want to cover in online therapy, we know that you may have more concerns to talk about. Or, you might know someone else who does. If you are in Clackamas, Happy Valley, Damascus, or Hillsboro, we can help you in person at one of our comfortable therapy clinics. Christian counseling is the cornerstone of our approach to therapy. Not only do we see adults, but children in counseling too. We also work with depression treatment, anxiety therapy, trauma therapy and PTSD treatment, relationship issues, marriage problems, and postpartum counseling. No matter where you are in the state, we can provide the support you need. Once you’re ready to start, we’re ready to meet you. Let’s connect!