If you’ve been wondering whether to reach out to a marriage counsellor or couples therapist near you, I’d encourage you to take this step. Saving your relationship can never start too soon. At Empower Counselling Services Winnipeg we work hard to provide you with resources such as this blog to help you get closer to your desired relationship. Please let us know if you have any questions for us after reading this blog. Click Contact and Booking to get in touch.
When to Seek Help
Seeking help from a marriage counsellor/couples therapist is not unlike seeking help from a car mechanic. You know something ain’t right, and it makes little sense to take your car into the shop a month after it started making that unpleasant noise. Waiting that long could do significant damage to the engine.
In the same way, the effectiveness of marriage counselling is directly related not only to the willingness and motivation of both parties to put in the effort, but also to the timing. The time to consider couples therapy is not when one (or both) partners have already checked out of the relationship. At that point it is, unfortunately, often very late and sometimes too late.
For instance, in some relationships, when one or both partners have already decided to end the marriage/partnership, they may use therapy as a “safe space” to drop the news on their partner. While counselling can be a great place to process the separation, this is obviously not the best timing to attempt therapy with the goal of saving the relationship.
Can All Relationships Be Saved?
The quick answer is that yes, all relationships can be saved, if both partners want to save the relationship. However, I would be lying to you if I said that couples therapy is 100% successful. Sometimes problems are too complex and longstanding for counselling to be truly effective. If a couple has been building up resentment toward one another over many years before seeking help, it is sometimes too late. While counselling is a wonderful way to help couples reconnect and heal, it is not a miracle cure, and couples need to want to save the relationship.
When and How Marriage Counselling/Couples Therapy Can Help
It’s ok to be on the fence, but in order for therapy to be effective it’s important that both individuals make a genuine effort to save the relationship. When both parties are willing to invest time and energy, couples therapy can be the catalyst for real and lasting change.
It is also important that couples choose a therapist who’s a good fit. Both partners must feel comfortable with the therapist for any progress to be made.
So, How Exactly Can Couples Therapy Help?
In a number of ways, including:
- Therapists help couples identify toxic behavioural patterns and give couples tools to make changes
- Each partner can gain new insights and perspective into the relationship
- Therapy can give couples tools help resolve conflicts with grace and respect so escalation can be reduced to healthy levels
- Partners can begin to build trust and improve communication
- Healthy fights are very important in a relationship. Counselling can help couples to learn to fight fairly, and well
Can Therapy Help With Separation/Divorce?
Absolutely! Couples therapy is an excellent place for this. Even though it’d be great if things could always work out as we had hoped, sometimes they don’t. If you and your partner have already determined that separation/divorce is the best way forward, a couples therapist can help you and your partner by negotiating next steps, including in the following areas:
- Negotiating finances and personal belongings
- Child and family care
- Planning a collaborative process
- Stress management
- Thinking through other important details
If you and your spouse decide to try marriage counselling, here are some tips for success:
- Take it seriously. Commit to the work and engage with the process
- Be open. If you’ve chosen the right therapist, you should feel free and safe to discuss your true feelings and needs
- Don’t hold back. In order for therapy to work, both people have to have the courage to be vulnerable
- Avoid the blame game. Each person must take responsibility for their part
- Be realistic about how long it will take before real change begins. While you can begin using tools immediately, healing won’t happen overnight
If you and your partner are experiencing relationship problems, don’t wait to get help. The sooner you do, the more likely (and quickly) your struggles can be resolved. If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.
Would love to hear from you even if you’re not ready to make a commitment to an appointment. Feel free to call or email me today to request a FREE 15-minute phone or video consultation.