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Couples Counseling: Getting Started

Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC : couples counseling and marital therapy in Plantation FL (Greater Fort Lauderdale).

 Couples Counseling and Marital Therapy

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Couples Counseling can help you feel connected again!

Most everyone can benefit from couples counseling or marital therapy!  Relationships are tough.  That’s just a fact for most people.  This is especially true the more committed the relationship is, simply because people are different and no matter how much you have in common, you have just as many things that make you different from one another.  And eventually those difference clash.  That’s why marriage or couples counseling can be such a useful tool for couples.

For example, it’s very common for couples to have different communication styles.  This often leads to frequent misunderstandings and feeling disconnected from one another.

We all want to be happy in our relationships but often feel that we’ve done everything we know how to do and still, the problems persist.  A couples counselor or relationship therapist can help you with that!  Couples counselors understand what goes wrong in relationships and how to get things back on track.

How to Choose a Couples Counselor

I went to a workshop once and the presenter said “You shouldn’t go to a mechanic who doesn’t own a car”.  I think there’s a bit of truth to that.  It reminds me of something I heard renowned life coach Tony Robbins say.  He said that in life, you should model yourself after the people who have created the results you are trying to achieve.  So, in addition to having training and experience in marriage counseling or couples therapy, your couples counselor should probably believe in the value of marriage and relationship, and have bee able to create a happy, successful marriage themselves.

There are also a few other things to consider when choosing a couples counselor.  First,  does this therapist have expertise in other areas?  For example, your spouse may be suffering from an undiagnosed depression, a substance abuse problem, or have a problematic personality style (like narcissism or borderline personality disorder).  If your couples therapist isn’t experienced with those issues as well, he or she may not recognize the impact other problems are having on the relationship.

Secondly, consider whether you want to be able to have some individual private sessions with your relationship or marriage counselor.  Some therapists only see the couple together, never separately.  In my experience, I have found it more helpful when I see a couple for joint sessions and for individual sessions.  Often, in individual sessions people feel more comfortable revealing some of their thoughts and feelings.  This allows us to work through those feelings, and then bring them up in a productive way in the couples therapy session.

What to Expect in Couples Counseling

If you want great results from your participation in marriage or relationship counseling, you should expect to participate.  Be curious, be open, learn new ideas, and try new things.  You will be surprised at just how well that works in the end!

Of course, you should also expect that your counselor will listen to your perspective and understand and empathize with what you are experiencing in your relationship.  You can expect to feel that you have a coach who wants to see you succeed and improve your relationship, and who will give you tools to achieve that goal.

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