Perhaps you and your partner constantly fight. What makes matters worse, those fights are often filled with a lot of cruel, contemptuous, defensive statements. After, you both know you said things you didn’t mean; you just don’t know how to stop yourself from saying them in the heat of the moment.
Maybe you question whether you and your loved one are even meant to be together. In the beginning, you were dazzled by your partner, as things were new and exciting. Once those first few months passed, however, you began feeling bored. Perhaps you started feeling frightened that you two have nothing in common at all and you barely have anything left to say to each other.
Whether your relationship is enduring one or both struggles, or something altogether different, couples’ therapy is a terrific place to address the problems and gain the skills to navigate things back on track.
A Key Question Before Getting Started
You may, however, be wondering the following: “how can my loved one and I make the absolute most of the short, 50-minute session we have each week with our couples’ therapist?”
It’s a great question and there are several important facts to keep in mind to best capitalize on each couples’ therapy session.
1. Be Sure Your Therapist is the Right Fit
Studies repeatedly demonstrate that the most important element to successful therapy is the right fit between therapist and client(s).
So, do your best to feel out, in the first call with your couples’ therapist, as well in the first few sessions, whether it seems this professional is the right person for you and your partner.
To get the best help, you and your loved one will ultimately want to bring the couples’ therapist into your worlds, sharing intimate and vulnerable details. As a result, it is paramount that you both feel comfortable and safe in sharing with your couples’ therapist.
If you do not feel this way, that is completely understandable. Just as in dating, there are so many people out there, and not everyone is the right match for another. So, you can absolutely feel comfortable vocalizing this to the therapist. This could lead to the therapist referring you to someone else who is likely a much better fit. It could also mean the therapist hears your particular concerns, addresses them, and improves his/her techniques to become more of the ideal fit you and your partner need.
2. Reach Your Most Focused State
Throughout each 50-minute couples’ therapy sessions, your couples’ therapist will closely observe you and your partner the entire time as you discuss important topics in your lives (and often, in particular, the topics where you two often experience adversity).
Your couples’ therapist is attentively watching you both to identify where you both are doing things well, as well as where you need improvements. Your therapist will regularly highlight both your strengths and areas of needed growth. Additionally, each time your couples’ therapist sees opportunities for growth, s/he will pause the interaction, teach you both the correct skill/approach to use, and then help you two try to best use it.
As you can imagine, you and your partner will have the opportunity to gain a tremendous amount of insight into how you two are doing well, as well as where you need to improve. Further, you two will be taught a multitude of new and healthy skills and approaches that will dramatically improve your lives. Given there is so much to learn in each session, you and your partner want to do your very best to achieve and sustain the most optimal focused state.
3. Consistently Complete Your Growth Work in Between Sessions
This next tip is one of the most important takeaways from this blog as you’re learning how to get the most out of couples therapy. The research tells us that to master anything, we need to practice it correctly enough around 10,000 times.
So, we cannot expect to achieve the relationship transformations we deserve solely from our participation in weekly, 50-minute couples’ therapy sessions.
The right kind of practice outside of the couples’ therapy sessions is crucial to success. It will help you translate the healthy skills and shifts you learn in your sessions into a normal, habitual part of your reality. Additionally, when you practice the skills outside of session, it will give you plenty to discuss, highlight, and learn from in the week’s therapy session.
4. Bring Your Worst and Best Self
Studies demonstrate that we tend to achieve the most growth when we are in the thick of conflict and acting as our most triggered and not so ideal selves. It is in these moments that your couples’ therapist will help you slow down, notice how your actions are undermining your goals, teach you what to do instead, and help you utilize the healthy tools to achieve success.
While it can be scary and vulnerable to reveal these worst moments of our character, you want to courageously allow yourself to go into these dark places and know that your couples’ therapist will do everything in his/her power to guide you to the other side.
Outside of these triggering times in therapy, you will want to encourage yourself to be your best self, as this will allow to fully capitalize on the sessions. Specifically, as often as you can, try to be open, flexible, and loving (both to yourself and your partner), as this will often make it easiest for you to learn and develop the myriad of skills and improvements in your lives.
5. Be Proud of Yourself
The fact that you and your partner reached out to a couples’ therapist and regularly engage in treatment means you love yourselves and relationship enough to want to see it all become the most mutually satisfying, intimate, and fulfilling one possible.
This is such an act of love to each of you and the relationship and you should regularly remind yourself of that. This is quite the gift you’ve given to the two of you and it is very important to regularly acknowledge and highlight this element.
Getting Started with Online Couples’
Therapy in California, Oregon, and Florida
It’s terrific that you want to get the most out of your couples’ therapy experience. At Stress Solutions, we want you to know that we have the same perspective. We make it our focus to give you every possible skill and teaching in each session to transform your relationship and your life.
For more information about how to make the most out of each session with a couples’ therapist in California, Oregon, or Florida, or to schedule a consultation, we encourage you to contact us.