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How to make couples counseling work

  • Let go of being right (and of your partner being wrong).
  • Focus on changing your own habits and behaviors, not your partner’s.
  • Be honest with yourself, your partner, and the therapist.
  • Listen.
  • Practice self-soothing so that you don’t react to things your partner says and does in an uncontrolled way.
  • If you are having trouble staying calm, tell the therapist and ask for help.
  • Try really hard to understand what your partner is saying.
  • Complement your partner as often as you can.
  • Practice your communication skills.
  • Work to understand and express your feelings, even vulnerable feelings
  • Tell the therapist when something is happening in the session that makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • If you don’t understand something that is said or that happens during the session, say so immediately.
  • Accept that the ultimate responsibility for your happiness lies with you, not with your partner.
  • Work to find hope for your relationship; don’t give up hope every time there is a hiccup in the process.
  • Actively look for things that you like, respect, and love about your partner.
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