Couples counseling more effective if done in early signs of trouble
You’re arguing with your significant other. Is it time to go to couples counseling? Or is it too late? Or maybe it’s too soon? Does counseling even work?
Every relationship ebbs and flows, with good days and bad days … so how do you know when your relationship has enough bad days to warrant couples counseling?
Most often, couples go to therapy two to five years after the start of negative feelings, such as increased conflict, lack of communication or intimacy, and discontentment in the relationship, according to relationship and marriage experts, This unresolved conflict continues to damage the relationship further, couples should seek therapy sooner rather than later, as the relational work in therapy for them is so much easier when there are not years of unresolved hurts and resentments.
Some therapists encourage clients to follow the magic ratio of relationships: the 5-to-1-rule.
“Five positive interactions to one negative interaction,” explained Erika Miley, a mental and sexual health therapist. “Do you find yourself having more negative interactions than positive? This is a good sign it is time to get some help.”
Anika and Michael B, of Miami, went to marriage counseling shortly after infidelity and financial secrets were exposed. “We were trying to work through both the practical and emotional consequences of that,” Anika B., said.
The couple went about twice a month for just under a year, and it allowed them to understand that they both wanted the marriage to succeed — and they’d be willing to put in the effort to make it work.
“Beyond that initial, critical phase of working through specific problems, we also each learned to ask one another for the things we need emotionally, and to listen to and then try to provide what the other was asking for,” Anika B., said.
While the couple, who have now been married for 15 years, aren’t going to couples counseling currently, they plan to go again, even in the absence of a particular problem or crisis.
Having a neutral listener who is supportive, helps them see each other’s perspectives and encourages them to understand each other, Anika B., said.
“We both know that’s something that takes practice, and I think that going back to counseling on an occasional basis will help,” she said.
Schedule a Couples Counseling Session in Miami today > 305-962-3344