NB: Family violence (including chronic verbal abuse) automatically discounts couples from marriage counselling. See Is Couples Counselling is Right For You? When things are not perfect in your relationships, it can be daunting to consider help, and scary to admit to friends and family. However, marriage or couples counselling is a confidential process that has been proven, time and again, to have been a lifesaver for many couples. Most couples say that it was the best investment that they ever made in their family. In fact, 94% of couples who have undergone intensive workshops and regular couples counselling report a better relationship overall.
What Happens in a Marriage Counselling Session? Ghita will start by asking you about your history together. She will be interested to find out more about when your relationship problems began and to hear from each of you about what you think is causing the problems. Ghita may ask about when you last felt happy together and ask you to reflect on what has changed.
The aim is for both parties to feel equally heard, to work together as a solid team and to gather communication skills that build intimacy and understanding. Couples learn to invest in each other and to express emotional needs in a safe, supporting and non-judgemental environment.
Benefits of marriage counselling include:
Improved Communication and Less Arguments
Better Agreement or Consensus on Issues in the Marriage
Renewed love, joy and hope
Ghita will teach and encourage you to become a better listeners and to better communicate your needs. This will help you gain a greater understanding of each other’s needs and concerns without falling into a spiral of conflict or avoidance. It is common for Ghita to divide the session into segments, including time for review of the previous week, time to talk about new issues and time for practice exercises, role play or other interventions.
First Session: Couples counselling can be a daunting process because there are two sets of opinions needing to be heard, therefore it is important that you both trust and feel able to open up to your counsellor. Subsequently, Ghita recommends that the first introductory session is for an hour for you to get to know Ghita and for information gathering. Here is what to expect during your first initial hour long session:
Both of you will tell your story – get a few things off your chest and be heard – perhaps for the first time in years. If there is time, reflective listening exercises will be used to elaborate on resentment and grievances, so that you understand each others viewpoints.
Goals: Ghita will ask you to decide (as a team) what you want to achieve in therapy and what needs to be urgently tackled first.
What Kind of Marriage Counselling Method Will Ghita Use? Ghita will decide on the most appropriate method depending on your situation. Here is a general guide: - Gottman: General Marriage Issues such as Communication Problems, Infidelity, Blame etc. - Heart versus Ego- Andersen Method: Power Imbalances, Self-Sabotage, Infidelity - Narrative Therapy: Second Marriages, Step-Children and Extended Family Interference
Relationship Repair Will Take on Average Between 4-12 Sessions Couples should be aware that because there are two people telling their side of a story, it is unlikely that a counsellor will move on onto Marriage Counselling Strategies before the second or third session. Sometimes Ghita will ask you to do a Gottman Couples Quiz to find out what your commitment levels are. There is a lot of information to get through to understand the problems. Counsellors cannot repair a relationship that has take years to become problematic in one session. Please expect to invest in your relationship repair over several sessions.
Steps in Marriage Counselling: Ghita focuses on the commitment and connection of a couple. To help demystify what couples therapy entails, Ghita has outlined her methods in the steps below.
Is the couple committed to their relationship (Yes or No?)
If Yes: Discover core reasons for the insecurities each partner has with the other.
Identify historical issues and how they trigger conflicts in your day to day life
Encourage safe, honest and frequent communication
Explore your expectations of yourself and each other
Bond the 'Team' and rediscover trust and honesty with each other
Create new mutual goals and boundaries
Create a few basic ground rules to support the marriage
Work towards intimacy with each other
Maintenance of communication skills like 'Active Listening'
Top ups: Revisit any issues that come up post-counselling
Commitment is Critical Commitment is one of the “weight-bearing walls” of Dr. John Gottman’s Sound Relationship House. It’s about demonstrating through your words and actions that you are in the relationship for better or for worse, and that you can count on each other. Commitment is critical regardless of your relationship status, whether you’re dating, cohabiting, or married. Without commitment, couples begin to nurture resentment for what they think is missing in their relationship instead of nurturing gratitude for what they have.
“Commitment is about choice. And it’s not just choosing your partner. It’s about choosing the relationship, day after day.”
Gottman 7 Out of 10 Commitment Rule If you would like help with your love relationship, but you are not living with your partner, you may be better off having individual counselling to talk things out. According to the Gottman Marriage Method, your commitment level needs to be at least 7/10. If you are unsure of your situation try the Commitment Quiz below...
Commitment QUIZ: Asking the right questions of yourself and your partner, helps to uncover the causes beneath issues. Scale your answer from 1 - 10. Scoring: 1-5: No or not so important; 5-10: Yes or very important.
I share deeply personal information about myself with my spouse. (Score:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
I find myself thinking about my spouse during the day.
Because of my commitment to my spouse, I would not let others come between us.
I receive considerable emotional support from my spouse.
My relationship with my spouse is very romantic.
I expect my love for my spouse to last for the rest of my life.
I communicate well with my spouse.
I legitimately expect to treat my partner as well as, or better than, they treat me.
In a strong disagreement, I really believe that my partner is entitled to their opinion.
Under duress, I have the courage and tenacity to seek my partner’s reality and the courage to express my reality when the stakes are high.
Is it important to let your partner know what you think, feel, and are concerned about? (Even if they really can’t appreciate what they don’t understand.)
How much do you care about the price your partner will have to pay? (Everything has a price and we always pay for it in some way.) Is it low or high?
Answers: If you score mostly low (under 7) on these questions, there may be a lack of commitment, respect or love and couples counselling may not be successful.
It's important to remember that there is an initial free 10 minute phone consultation available to help you decide whether Ghita would be a good fit for you. More reading on the links below. Call Ghita today on 0439 888 070.