There is one question that is asked by virtually every client new to counselling, "Will this work for me?"
The answer is up to you. The couple in love literally conceive the dream of a new relationship in which they can be safe, whole and loved. Like conceiving a child in most cases this a lot of fun and a very connecting experience. What follows is discomfort of pregnancy in which we discover that we live with a most unsuitable person. Like pregnancy this second stage is a struggle marked by discomfort and challenges. However as the birth approaches the couple enters the next stage in which they need to commit to the challenging process of birthing this mature relationship. Most couples enter counselling in crisis when one or both is at the point of exiting the relationship.
What most couples don't know is that this crisis of connection is an essential part of the relationship journey. Like a birth process we are in the grip of powerful important emotions and desires struggling for psychological life.
The crisis alerts the couple to the fact that if they are to grow they will need to exit the destructive cycles of blame and disconnection they have co-created and embrace the challenging painful and rewarding process of authentic relationship.
What you need from a therapist?
You need someone competent and trained in working with couples. Relationship work is specialised and being a good individual therapist does not mean that someone is qualified to work with couples. You need someone who will be clear about what they can, and can't do, and is upfront about the costs, benefits and limitations of therapy.
What a therapist needs from you?
Desire and Commitment are the two key indicators of success in relationship work. The work is challenging, difficult and if embraced can be life changing. Clients often come to therapist secretly hoping we can wave a magic wand and make everything work instantly - that would be nice. A better analogy is getting a builder to come and look at the house you and your partner have constructed together and start giving you some guidelines and instructions on how to set thing in order. It's still hard work but there is the reassurance of knowing you are working with someone who has seen the process of restoring love in a marriage occur many times before. It is wise to recognise that it will cost in terms of time, money and (the most challenging piece) risking hurt by being vulnerable.
The good news . . .
Building a good relationship is not only possible it's what we are created for. In fact many of our most painful experiences in love, are invitations to growth.
Welcome to the Journey
Steven Dromgool and the Relate team