Authored by Stephanie A. Harper in Relationships
Published on 08-08-2009
It is not uncommon for people in any form of relationship to struggle with one another. And, sometimes these conflicts are so great that they take the extra guidance of a trained intermediary to devise an adequate solution. Relationship counseling of all types helps people learn how to live with and love one another through the overcoming of obstacles in a positive manner.
So, what exactly is relationship counseling? Most basically, it is the process by which any set of persons may receive counseling to work through various differences that make it difficult to maintain a healthy relationship. This can include couples or marriage therapy as well as family therapy. It can even be professional therapy between employees and/or employers in a workplace.
These types of therapy can last for a short period. Sometimes they include only 1 to 3 sessions meant to work on a brief issue or a solution for a specific conflict. Sometimes, especially in couple’s therapy, a long term counseling program lasting around 12 to 24 therapy sessions may be necessary.
Now, the prospect of sharing the most intimate details about your relationship with a third party observer is frightening. But, therapists are licensed and professional as well as equipped to handle the situation at hand. As a rule, they pride themselves on confidentiality, accountability, and respect. You can also expect tactfulness and expertise. All of these things should register a certain amount of comfort for the newcomer to the counseling world.
So, what can you expect from your therapy session? Therapists focus on both coping mechanisms for the here and now as well as looking into emotions and long standing situations of a relationship. These issues might be the root of a more systemic issue. All therapists are agents for change hoping to improve the communication skills between any two persons in a relationship.
Now, here are a few things to consider before finding a counselor. First of all, in order for relationship counseling to really work both parties must be ready and willing to try. There is a certain amount of openness involved in funneling your intimate relationship problems and insecurities through a third party. If one is more willing to share than the other it can be difficult and feel a little like betrayal.
Also, it is important to take the tools and methods a counselor may suggest seriously no matter how novel some of the methodology may seem. If you have done your research and found a credentialed and well respected therapist who makes you both feel safe and content, you should trust in his/her advice. Give everything a chance and be receptive to new ideas and ways of doing things. This is integral to the success of your sessions.
For more information about relationship counseling and a detailed listing of counselors, check out the National Directory of Family and Marriage Counseling. They have a great well of resources on finding the right counselor and making this person as useful as possible for your relationship.