How to Overcome Your Fear of Couples Counseling
Couples or marriage counseling can save a marriage in trouble or make a mediocre relationship a great one. Yet, it can be difficult to muster the courage to attend the first session. Often, the refusal to seek counseling is done out of fear – fear that your weaknesses and failings will be held up to the light for everyone to scrutinize. Here's how to prepare for the first session so you can overcome any fears or misgivings and begin the work necessary to save your relationship.
#1: You usually won't get into any hard stuff at first.
You can relax, since the first appointment is more of a getting-to-know-you meeting. The deeper issues that you are there for may be mentioned, but usually they won't be hashed out in any depth at first. This type of meeting ensures that you get a feel of the counselor so you will be comfortable with them in the future, and they get a better understanding of who you both are individually and as a couple. Expectations for future sessions are usually set, and you may be sent home with a brief homework assignment, such as a personality inventory to fill out.
#2: Preparation can help set you at ease.
It's no secret that most things in life are easier if you are prepared, but how do you prepare for counseling? In some cases, the counselor may help you out. Some counselors send out forms before the first session or have them available on their website. The purpose of these forms is to inventory your reasons for seeking counseling, your relationship goals, and any major issues you want to address. Even if forms aren't provided, think on these questions so you can give a true and meaningful answer when you are asked during the first session.
#3: Don't be afraid to question.
Some people prefer to go with the flow, which is fine when you know what to expect but can be frightening when you don't. It may seem the counselor is asking a lot of questions, but that doesn't mean you can't ask, too. Ask the counselor what to expect at the regular sessions. The following questions can help get you started:
Will you and your partner be meeting together, separately, or both?
What therapy methods does the counselor typically use, both in-session and as homework?
Can you contact the therapist outside of sessions if you need advice or help?
How many sessions a week/month are expected?
Are there counseling options available if your partner won't come to sessions with you?
Admitting that your relationship could use improvement and taking the steps to do so is a brave and noble quest. You can overcome your fears and work to better your relationship. Contact a local couples counselor like Drake Counseling Services to learn more.