If you are thinking about going through couples counseling, you might wonder what’s in it for you during your initial session. What would it be like? Will your counselor or your partner ambush you with questions? You may also be doubtful if counseling would even help your relationship. A lot of stigmas and hesitations that a rooted in the concept of couples counseling are frequently pacified after partners attend their very first counseling session.
You Meet With The Counselor As A Couple
When you meet the counselor for your initial session, you and your spouse or partner will be doing the talk together with the counselor. Most of your visits will be done this way, and others will be spent individually. The goal of the one-on-one session is for the counselor to get some history and background on each partner, allowing the counselor to be more knowledgeable of your particular needs.
Following the first session together, the counselor might schedule you an individual meeting. Then you will be working with your partner for the rest of the meetings concerning your relationship problems. The initial meeting will become the basis for what will be done in the next meetings. This will also set an atmosphere where you and your partner are inspired to talk about your emotions.
You Set Your Goals As A-Team
Setting goals are very crucial to decipher especially when it comes to counseling. As you get into your first meeting, you create goals for your relationship. These goals will assist you and your partner in having more healthy connections and interactions. If you are not sure about what goals you want, it’s fine. Remember that it’s still the first session. Your counselor is there to help you do just that. On the contrary, if you have already set your goals, it’s an even greater start. Depending on your history and background, you can identify the goals you wish to present to your counselor. Whatever it is, your counselor can guide both of you through peace and harmony.
Having Different Goals
Each individual that undergoes counseling has various goals, and this means that you and your partner might have different outlooks. You could have considered counseling because you have high hopes for your relationship, while the other partner is not very hopeful. This imbalance could cause a difference in the goals that you set for the entire counseling process.
Despite this, it won’t imply that your marriage or relationship is meant to fail. Both you and your partner can work with the counselor to seek improvement and healing. The general purpose is to acquire self-esteem as an individual and then as a couple to move forward. And to succeed in couples counseling, you have to find harmony when dealing with relationship matters with your partner. However, whether or not you decide to go separate ways or face your issues, the counselor will work with a plan that will suit your needs, encouraging positivity and healing.
Counseling Should Lead To Better Understanding
Establishing a positive connection with your counselor is important if you want the counseling to succeed. Your counselor must show understanding, patience, and empathy toward you and your partner throughout all the sessions. For instance, if you are talking about your problems with your counselor, you must not feel that you’re not being ignored. Confidence in your counselor will help you feel reassured that you are understood during your counseling. If this is not the case, you will most probably not rely on your counselor, which could cause stress and doubts in the counseling process itself.
Being understood is not merely being listened to. Your counselor must be capable of creating an atmosphere where you and your partner can freely express your issues and feelings. Couples should be determined and urged to attain their goals and, over time, feel certain that attaining those goals is possible.
Allow Yourselves To Be Exposed
Being weak is vital to productivity in counseling. When you and your partner allow yourselves to be exposed and vulnerable, you are permitting yourselves to express insecurities, shame, and hurt that you are both struggling with within your marriage or relationship.
Inherently, you may be inclined to keep information from the start of the meeting because your counselor needs to be accountable. When you begin to feel relaxed enough to display some weakness, you will get better results during counseling.
If you have plans of setting and accomplishing any objectives during your counseling sessions, you must also strive to establish a trusting connection with your counselor so that you will both feel comfortable in opening up about your weaknesses and other concerns. Certainly, there are plenty of issues and ideas that you would consider before deciding to attend your first counseling session, which is all entirely understandable.
Building an honest connection with your counselor could take some time, as well as repairing your marriage or relationship. The healthiest way to approach your initial couples counseling sessions is to go in there, to be honest with yourself and your partner, as well as with your counselor, and to embrace it with an open mind.
Every couple is not spared from conflict. For others, it’s arguments about money or dysfunctional sex life. The current pandemic has yet contributed to another possible stressor – more time spent at home, increasing the tension, or uncovering concealed holes in a relationship.
The American Psychological Association reports that about 75% of partners have decided to go through therapy, claiming it has enhanced or fixed their relationship. It only takes an hour or two a week to concentrate on each other without any distractions.
Below are some common reasons why couples might need to go through counseling.
Infidelity. One of the most typical reasons for couples to seek counseling is when someone cheats. However, cheating doesn’t necessarily imply physical infidelity. Concealing something and keeping secrets is a form of emotional betrayal. You might reach out to your ex through social media and say to yourself, “This is nothing. I’m just trying to have fun.” But all of a sudden, it becomes more than that.
From the moment you feel like you are lured into cheating, it is better to seek counseling. If one of the partners is already engaging in an affair, there is clearly a means to turn around. Experts say that one-third of couples overcome an affair, but commonly the couple decides to go into counseling and exert time and effort to fix their marriage.
Growing Apart. Time and time again, we’ve seen couples that have been together for years fall out of love and grow apart from each other. Divorce or separation is a common subject when a marriage is usually in its seventh year. It just feels like they are just running a household for some partners but without any love or intimacy for each other. They become lonely and eventually ask, “What has become of us now?”
Couples often do not recall what actually got them together, which made them fall in love. If you have been with a person for quite some time, you have created memories, history, and life stories that you cannot make with another person. Couples counseling can help restore that.
Financial Conflict. Finances have always been a touchy issue for partners, but add in the extra worries and stress that baby boomers face – possibly fewer earning power years and potential health matters – you have yourself an environment that is vulnerable to financial conflict. Arguments may be rooted in arguments about retirement, spending, and saving or different spending styles. Stress may arise when there is a lack of money or inequalities concerning which partner is responsible for paying this and that.
Counseling assists couples so that they may understand their marriage with money and how it forms their insights about themselves and others as well. At times, the way people perceive and manage money is connected to past events. Counselors tried having their clients build a family tree and express how they feel about financial issues – how parents and children discuss, spend, and save money.
Major Transitions. Big changes can alter the state of a relationship, whether it’s presently good or bad, and various coping strategies are expected to cause friction. It could be retirement, children moving out, or an illness. Perhaps you’ve been spending a lot of time caring for your kids, and when the time comes for them to leave. Suddenly, you get to spend more time with your spouse and realize that you don’t know him anymore.
Unexpectedly caring for a sick parent or loved one, which eats up a large part of your attention and time, could also present a gamut of challenges. If your partner does not handle the stress well or is not supportive, the situation could stoke emotions of hate and discouragement. Couples counseling can help you manage the new normal by rebuilding bonds you and your partner once had.
Poor Love Life. Studies reveal that the most common response of divorced people who were asked why they decided to split up was lack of intimacy. For most couples, there is no longer live in their sex lives. Years of mundane habits and routines can make sex less fun and exciting. Sometimes, one spouse could be too tired, or having sex is merely a thing to check off from the list. Medication effects, bodily changes like menopause, and health problems can also cause sex to be daunting for couples.
On the other hand, many couples are emotionally but not sexually intimate but are still affectionate. As long as both partners are contented with their situation, there won’t be problems or issues. Couples counseling is beneficial if one or both partners are not satisfied with the degree of intimacy.
It can be tough and embarrassing for couples to talk about something this sensitive. Still, an effective counselor can walk them through the conversation and should be capable of making both partners feel more relaxed discussing sensitive topics.
Mental health problems stemming from a broken relationship can be emotionally exhausting. It is never easy dealing with a relationship problem. Moreover, it is harder to address depressive symptoms arising from important personal connections.
The failure of the relationship itself can lead to emotional disturbance. Moreover, it can even significantly affect your mental well-being. But there are several possible reasons for the relationship to end.
Apart from falling out of love, relationships may also end because of individual issues. Dominance, unbearable behaviors, and the lack of willingness to engage are all possible contributing factors.
At the same time, the need for validation may lead to unfair expectations in the relationship. Experiences of abandonment as well as traumatic events can impact your ability to show compassion and empathy. However, you can manage these by taking a step back. Through that, you may begin to realize these feelings of guilt and shame.
During this pandemic, due to isolation protocols, traditional psychotherapy is twice as hard to do. Continuity is essential in this type of treatment. And this is why it is still important to seek treatment and medication.
Online counseling services can help access suitable therapy for mental health, despite the situation. It is a good option for people in remote areas and needs to travel long distances.
Moreover, those who need any counseling type can easily access the help they need. This therapy is instrumental in continuous progress despite accessibility difficulties, especially during lockdown periods.
Digitally engaging with your therapist can also decrease the likelihood of uncomfortable sessions. If you are interested to know more about how online counseling services can help you and your relationship problems, we’ve listed you a series of frequently asked questions below.
Can I talk to a counselor online for free?
Yes. 7 Cups is an online platform allowing you to talk to a therapist or counselor for free. They have trained listeners who can provide you with the best help. 7 Cups is available for people of all ages.
How can we overcome Counseling problems?
Counselors have well-founded beliefs on things. Sometimes this gets in the way of providing help for patients. But counselors must maintain a neutral perspective. They must be free from bias from their personal preferences. A good understanding of the importance of the role that counselors play can help overcome this struggle.
What are the benefits of online counseling?
The first benefit is accessibility. Anyone may access therapy online, thus overcoming barriers. Those who have physical disabilities who have difficulty going out can benefit significantly from this.
Studies show that online therapy seems to be more effective in teenagers and children. They are more comfortable with technology than some adults. Second, it is convenient for most people. It eradicates the need to schedule appointments. You can choose a time and day that’s most convenient for you.
Finally, it is way more affordable than traditional therapy. Through this, both the therapist and patient can do the session in their own homes.
Is online therapy as effective as in-person therapy?
Yes, online therapy provides a similar quality of help. Studies show that teletherapy is equivalent to in-person therapy in terms of effectiveness. An additional effectivity of online treatment is that it lessens the social stigma. Instead of going to your psychiatrist’s office, you can do this at the comfort of your home.
How do I get advice online?
You may visit the concerned specialist’s website, and someone will accommodate you. To illustrate, in 7 Cups, they have trained volunteers who can be listeners. They heed your needs 24/7. Another online advice site is Elder Wisdom Circle. This platform is for those who do not have older people in their lives to guide them through life.
Through this, they receive useful pieces of advice. Some people resort to Reddit to obtain advice from others. They use it by posting their concerns via posts. Then, people would leave their replies in the comment thread.
What is the best online counseling service?
One of the platforms with the best counseling service is BetterHelp. They provide different types of services that can fit your needs. BetterHelp employs licensed mental health professionals to help patients.
By answering a questionnaire upon registration, they match you with a counselor that could help you. They offer different communication means. It includes messaging, video conferencing, or phone calls.
What are the problems of guidance?
Various difficulties in implementing guidance and counseling programs include
Lack of cooperation from parents and students
Lack of specific time allocation
Other problems of guidance counselors involve the lack of foresight and planning. School guidance counselors usually do their work without thought. But it should not be the case. Doing so could affect the stability of the student body.
Other guidance counselors have an exaggerated opinion of counseling. They may also feel superior to the patients and co-workers.
What are the challenges of guidance and Counseling?
A study showed that the bulk of school students never visit counseling offices. The mean perception score of scholars and lecturers towards the service’s quality was positive. However, there is either limited availability or unobtainable. There is also a shortage of professionally trained counselors and needed facilities.
How do you overcome academic problems?
An essential thing in overcoming academic problems is time management. It’s critical to manage your time effectively to be productive. Try to use planners or organizers to keep everything in check. Having a regular schedule also helps. If this is too difficult for you, you may seek help from your family and friends.
It’s also vital to have proper studying techniques. You may participate in class discussions and learn from the teacher directly. If this does not work, seek academic advice from outside the school.
Is online therapy safe?
Yes. Platforms use third-party channels to ensure the safety of your information. They use tight security encryption to avoid hacking incidents. To be sure, you can also check the privacy policies of online counseling providers.
What is meant by online Counseling?
It means providing mental health support through the internet. It may transpire through text messaging, video conferencing, email, messaging, or online chat. It is an alternative to in-person counseling. Many patients are switching to this because of its accessibility and convenience.
What are the disadvantages of Counseling?
One disadvantage of counseling is the erratic schedule. Your counselor may not be available for a session all the time. If this is the case, you may not be able to meet with your counselor when you need them most.
For counselors, tax issues may also come into play. They may get taxed for a high amount though counseling does not pay that much.
Which is better, BetterHelp or TalkSpace
Talkspace and BetterHelp are 2 of the most effective online medical aid services. They provide excellent and reliable virtual space for those who need a licensed psychologist. However, Talkspace only offers psychological services.
Meanwhile, BetterHelp allows live video chats and unlimited electronic communication. The company also offers phone consultations. Thus somebody with a slow internet connection might enjoy maximizing the features.
Is there such a thing as an online therapist?
Yes. Online therapists are merely therapists conducting their sessions online. Thus, they make consultations on the internet with their patients. Online therapists have the same qualifications as traditional therapists.
The only difference is the platform wherein they operate. Online therapists underwent treatment and rehabilitation. They also have licensed specialists.
When it comes to building meaningful and nourishing relationships, having conflicts are pretty normal. However, there can be instances where disputes can be harmful as well. It can even cause a significant disruption in your daily function. If this is the case, then there might be serious underlying problems.
Taking the time to process the difficulties might take some effort. You, with your partner, will need to dig deeper into your relationship. Through this, you can discover root issues that might be causing the problems.
Relationships are a two-way street. As much as it is important to look at the relationship as a whole, it is also essential to consider each individual.
Due to forced isolation, loneliness has easily become rampant. This unusual time can be affecting a person’s well-being. In turn, these personal struggles can be affecting the relationship as well.
Online counseling is not exclusive to depressive symptoms. Sometimes mental health problems may manifest as disturbance of emotions, anxiety, negative thoughts, and other unpleasant feelings. If this is the case, make sure to ask for help. Sometimes, time can mend relationships.
But if a serious mental health problem is affecting the relationship, then seek professional help.
Moreover, online counseling services can also help with relationship problems. In taking care of your psychological health, counseling through digital platforms can be a helpful tool. Dealing with relationship struggles with a counselor can help further improve the relationship.
Online counseling services can provide you the convenience of accessing your treatment. Several clinics are offering effective online therapy sessions, which are customizable for every individual.
Healing yourself and mending relationships can be emotionally demanding. But through proper professional help, you will eventually overcome your problems.
I was recently diagnosed with clinical depression. At first, I cried my heart out because I could not believe I was dealing with a mental health condition. I was disappointed with myself because, as a therapist, I always ensure my clients’ mental health. But now, I am also dealing with the same struggle my patients experienced. I told myself that everything was a lie and that I am emotionally and mentally okay. So why would I be depressed? But soon after I realized, I was in denial because of the emotional trauma I got from my cheating husband.
How It All Started
As a married woman with a very admirable career, I feel entirely happy and satisfied with life. I am a mother of two cheerful and cute little girls, and I live with a professional and handsome, loving husband. But that’s what I thought.
Before I even got a diagnosis of clinical depression, I was under full stress. My kids were always having a bad day at school, my career was taking most of my time every day, my head was filled with duties and responsibilities I could not handle, and everything was a mess. But the worst part of that mess was when I found out that my husband was cheating on me with my secretary. It was a huge blow and insult to my face because the “other woman” lives with us, at my home.
Sadly, I was too confident about them not getting involved in an affair. But hell, how would I know? Soon after knowing that things were out of control, I became a totally different person in a short period. All the negative emotions rushed in, and I lost the will to get better. I tied myself in isolation, and I pushed people away. I had this strong emotional belief that all the people around me were liars and great goddamn actors.
How I Got Over It
Luckily, I was a therapist, so I had the advantage of bouncing back even with a little to no help. From the moment I realized that I matter, I began working on the positive things. I managed to get a hold of myself and focused on the best and effective recovery process I know. Here are a few ideas I’d like to share.
What is the best natural antidepressant?
Several natural antidepressants that may help lift your mood when you are experiencing anxiety or depression include Omega-3 fatty acids, St. John’s wort, Saffron, and SAM-e. It will also help if you keep a good level of Zinc, Folate, Vitamin B, and Vitamin D in your body.
What are the general methods used to treat depression?
The three general methods used to treat depression include interpersonal therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. In some instances, a combination approach can be more effective. And sometimes, these therapies can work better with medication and lifestyle changes.
How can I lift my mood?
There are a couple of helpful things you can do to turn your bad mood around. Several ways include listening to good music. If you are a fan of rock and metal songs, you might as well consider an alternative rock or mellow for a more calming effect. You can also get a good laugh with friends. Spend time with people you truly value and care about. Also, you can work on organizing or decluttering your stuff. It is an activity that serves as a distraction to keep you away from constant worries. Allow yourself to vent out your emotions and choose mental and emotional wellness.
What can reduce pain and depression?
There are actions you can do to get rid of depression and reduce your pain. However, if you think nothing seems to work, antidepressant medications can be a good option. It may relieve both pain and depression because of shared chemical messengers in the brain. But note. You should seek and talk with your therapist first to get a proper prescription. It will also help if you attend psychological counseling or psychotherapy to gain the best results for your mental health recovery.
What can replace antidepressants?
Though experts commonly recommend antidepressants, several treatments can work fine without them. Usually, it is all about self-care. You can consider some alternatives to treat your mental health conditions, including considering an electric shock treatment, getting enough lithium, attending talk or psychotherapies, working on an exercise, and seeking help from self-help groups.
What is the primary cause of depression?
Depression is an entirely complicated state, and there are multiple causes of it. Factors including genetic vulnerability, severe medical conditions, death or loss of a loved one, conflict with other people, abuse, and life stressors are some of those. Some substances you may take, like medications, drugs, and alcohol, can affect your brain functions and regulate your moods.
What is the best medicine for depression?
Anxiolytic drugs such as Miltown and Valium, along with Prozac, have been spectacularly successful products for over five decades now. However, due to current innovation, the list now includes the best medicine for depression, such as Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, and Zoloft.
What is the new treatment for depression?
TRD is a depressive condition that doesn’t get better even after taking at least two antidepressant therapies. Thus, medical experts and FDA approved Brexanolone, also referred to as allopregnanolone, in March 2019. It is a neuroactive steroid gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA)A containing receptor-positive modulator that treats postpartum depression.
How can a sad person be happy?
Judging a person’s reasons for being sad can be quite complicated. In some instances, that individual’s sadness might mean a thing. It could be a mental health condition that the person struggles to deal with or a state that no one understands. But despite possible reasons, it is important to realize that a sad person should focus on getting better and making himself happy. One of the ways he can do that is by smiling. Smiling can show a little bit of self-encouragement despite the uncertainties around. Also, it would help if he surrounds himself with good people who never fail to show appreciation.
What causes a flat mood?
A flat mood is a state where people do not express emotions in the same way others do. But usually, this condition is often misunderstood. Having a flat mood does not mean that individuals lack emotions. Instead, their thoughts and emotions are just unexpressed. Sometimes, the verbal or visual absence is caused by certain conditions such as traumatic brain injury, autism, depression, and schizophrenia.
How can I boost my mood naturally?
The best way to improve your mood naturally should start with a lifestyle change. You need to eat healthy foods such as rich in omega-3 fatty acids and foods high in vitamin d. It is vital to get regular exercise to obtain better and enough sleep. Also, try sun therapy, and practice relaxation techniques. It is vital always to hydrate the body and enjoy caffeine in moderation. Increase social interactions and spend time with people who positively influence your overall development.
Mental health and relationship are always connected, especially when it involves an unexpected traumatic experience. You may see yourself working with progress while in pain, and that is okay. As long as you put it in your mind that “you matter,” there is no way you cannot get over it.
Relationships require hard work from both sides. The steady march of time tends to soften the intense feelings at the start of a relationship. It replaces all the excitement and rush with the complacency of routine.
Over the years, cracks begin to show, and disagreements become more frequent. Although there is no easy fix for relationship problems, couples therapy can help you and your partner work through these issues together.
According to psychologist John Gottman, marital conflicts usually fall under two broad categories: the solvable and the perpetual. The former might include work stress and domestic duties, which are manageable to some degree. While the latter depends on fundamental differences.
Gottman estimates that 69% of marital conflicts are perpetual or present in every marriage. Perpetual problems are the focus of the Gottman Method.
The Gottman Method is a contemporary evidence-based approach to couples counseling. It seeks to help couples identify and address relationship barriers to achieve deeper understanding, connection, and growth.
Based on his research, Gottman identified seven healthy relationships characteristics, visualized in the Sound Relationship House framework. The “house” is held in place by two pillars: trust and commitment. Without these two, the structure will fall apart.
The lower levels of the house comprise the friendship system. The first building block urges couples to build love maps or blueprints containing relevant information about their partner. Sharing fondness and admiration is the second building block.
The third building block is what Gottman calls “turning towards.” It refers to a conscious decision to respond to your partner’s need for attention and support instead of turning away.
The fourth building block is displaying a positive perspective. It means viewing you and your partner as being part of the same team.
The upper floors are dedicated to conflict management, making life dreams come true, and creating shared meaning.
Couples trying the Gottman Method begin with an assessment of the relationship. Each partner gets an individual interview and a joint session. Through this, the therapist gets a clear picture of where the two parties stand. Afterward, the couple must use the framework to construct their Relationship House.
They learn how to emulate best practices from successful couples by working on harmful habits, strengthening communication skills, and deepening emotional connection to pursue shared goals.
If you would like to check whether the Gottman Method is right for you and your partner, read the most frequently asked questions below.
What is the best therapy for couples?
The three most established couples therapy approaches are the Emotionally-Focused Therapy or EFT, Imago Relationship Therapy, and the Gottman Method. Most therapists would integrate these different therapies into their practice. Upon assessment, they will start applying the therapy best suited for your needs and situation.
Couples therapy provides a safe space to discuss problematic patterns and issues in a relationship. It comes in different types since different relationships and marital problems require different approaches.
Does the Gottman method work?
Many scientific studies and research have backed up the Gottman Method’s effectiveness for addressing couples’ relationship issues. In fact, it has been one of the most widely used couples’ therapy approaches because of its detailed structure.
Unlike other individual-focused couples’ therapy methods, the Gottman Method focuses on couples’ behavior patterns together. This therapy approach has boosted intimacy, compatibility, empathy, and communication while removing stagnancy and relationship barriers.
What is a Gottman therapist?
A Gottman therapist is a therapist trained to conduct therapy sessions based on the Gottman Method. During therapy sessions, they educate couples on the Sound Relationship House Theory. They then help the couple apply in practice its principles and components.
Moving forward, a Gottman therapist will help the couple improve their friendship, manage conflicts, and create shared meaning together.
Does BetterHelp offer couples counseling?
Yes. BetterHelp provides couples counseling services as well as individual and marriage counseling online. Scheduling each session is more flexible and convenient on the platform since you can access a licensed therapist’s services anytime.
The online therapy sessions enable couples to engage in Q&A counseling with a qualified couples’ therapist. The therapist will guide you through couples’ therapy fundamentals for each session.
What are the three C’s in a healthy relationship?
The three C’s in any healthy relationship are communication, compromise, and commitment. These three crucial virtues allow couples to stay together without losing touch. It allows partners to show their partner they are understood, needed, appreciated, and desired.
Finding a balance between these three is the building block of a stronger bond and connection in a relationship.
What is the Gottman repair checklist?
The Gottman Repair Checklist is an intervention in couples therapy that uses repair phrases on different interaction categories. These different repair phrase checklists include I feel, Sorry, Get to Yes, I Need to Calm Down, Stop Action!, and I Appreciate.
These statements help couples de-escalate situations to regulate their emotions better. It allows you to focus on your partner’s emotional responses and co-regulate with them.
What is the biggest predictor of divorce?
According to Dr. John Gottman, the Gottman Method’s proponent, the biggest predictor of divorce is contempt. When partners show contempt in the relationship, they are dismissing the other as unimportant. It is often through sarcasm, criticism, and negative judgment.
You do not feel valued and welcomed to express your thoughts or share your dreams and ideas. Thus, the relationship loses its “give and take” concept, leading to conflicts after conflicts.
Can couples therapy make things worse?
Generally, couples therapy doesn’t make things worse for a relationship. In fact, studies show that around 70% of couples therapy cases result in a positive change.
However, the outcome of each session can support the decision making in ending a relationship. The problem can also root from seeking couples therapy too late when the relationship is already beyond repair.
What does Gottman say about communication in marriage?
In his study, Dr. John Gottman discovered four communication patterns in a relationship and marriage. These are contempt, criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling. These patterns serve as a predictor of how marriage will end up.
While there is no perfect communication in marriage, addressing these four communication patterns can improve the relationship.
What is stonewalling in marriage?
Stonewalling in marriage is the act of shutting down and refusing to communicate with your partner. It is often because of feeling overwhelmed in a situation.
Some of its manifestations can be ignoring, avoidance, acting busy, turning away, or tuning out of a conversation. It turns into a problem when it becomes a habit and is used to manipulate their partner into getting what they want.
What is the Gottman Relationship checkup?
The Gottman Relationship Checkup is a relationship assessment tool used in a therapeutic setting. It comprises 480 questions that revolve around intimacy, emotions, friendships, trust, values, and conflict. It also takes an in-depth take on specific areas like housework, parenting, finances, etc.
The tool enables therapists to create tailored clinical feedback with specific therapy recommendations. On average, it would take around an hour or two to complete the Gottman Relationship Checkup.
What is a love map, Gottman?
The “love map” is the term Dr. Gottman created to get to know their partner’s own complex world. It involves storing relevant information in your brain about your partner’s life, fear, and dreams. It’s about getting to know their history as well as their present joys and worries.
Building a love map encourages genuine interest and clarity between each other in a relationship.
Will marriage counselors ever suggest divorce?
In general, marriage counselors stay at an arm’s length with their clients. Hence, they do not overtly and directly suggest couples stay together or divorce. Keep in mind that marriage counselors and therapists only help teams get a clearer view of their marriage.
The process of each counseling session helps an individual understand their relationship better and arrive at a decision. However, therapists do not give an exact directive for coming up with these decisions, including getting a divorce.
What is the success rate of couples therapy?
Before the 1980s, couples therapy methods have had limited success, with an average success rate of 50 percent. However, after identifying critical behaviors in methods like the Gottman Method, the current practice now has a roughly 75% success rate. The outcome studies included therapy cases for high-stress couples, including infertile couples, military couples, and parents with chronically-ill children.
Meanwhile, those in the 25 percent failing group are mostly couples in abusive relationships.
What are bad signs in a relationship?
Every relationship experiences conflict and occasional rough patches. In fact, the conflict resolution part of disagreements and misunderstandings is a healthy aspect of relationships. However, when this turns into repeated behavior and habit, it could be a worrisome sign and unhealthy relationship pattern.
These signs often include avoidance, humiliation, dishonesty, codependency, controlling behavior, and abuse. As a result, it could lead to hatred and loss of self-worth of both partners.
Similarly, a house needs regular repairs; a couple needs to put in the work to maintain their metaphorical home. From building love maps to creating shared meaning, a couple should pay close attention to each floor to make their relationship work for the long run.
Gottman emphasizes that a deep friendship characterized by love, affection, and intimacy is a good foundation of a healthy and supportive relationship. If your relationship is going through a rough patch, try asking yourself: am I a good friend to my partner? Do I still enjoy their company? How do we usually resolve our disagreements?
It can be challenging to identify dysfunctions in a relationship from within. Some issues might be too entrenched for you to recognize on your own. This is where a couples therapist can step in to provide the necessary guidance.
Depending on their clients’ problems, the therapist might focus on improving conflict resolution skills or bridging emotional distance. They can also tackle specific issues like money management and childcare and address relapse prevention.
However, it’s important to note that a therapist does not generally recommend a specific course of action. They are unlike doctors that prescribe medicine to treat physical illnesses. Therapists can help clients better understand the relationship but respect each individual’s agency to decide for themselves.
Ultimately, the couple decides to put in the work to make the relationship function more effectively.
One must invest in time and effort for a marriage to grow and glow. Between household responsibilities, kids, work commitments, and other important schedules, often it is quite difficult to protect that relationship. When trials come, some couples contemplate divorce because they think it’s healthier and more convenient.
However, other couples stay and strive to save the relationship. Which couple are you? Do you find it better to go on separate ways or would you like to save the marriage in order to save your family? If you think you and your spouse have the slightest chance of making it right again, read these proven tips on how to improve your marriage and save your family in the long run.
Respect and honor your spouse
People do change, and that doesn’t exclude your partner. Admiring, accepting, and adapting to these changes is essential in any kind of relationship. You can do this by initially writing a list of your partner’s good features so that you will remember the beautiful human being that you fell in love with and married. This will also help you express your appreciation for your partner’s distinct personalities – those that made you fall for him in the first place. Show him this appreciation by saying thank you. Compliments are also a great way to let him know that you admire him for what he does.
Despite the many distractions that might keep you from keeping in touch with your spouse – smartphones, online jobs, and Netflix, you must find time to talk to your spouse face to face. Open communication about how your day went, your happy and not-so-good moments, your failures, and your successes of the day is crucial in building intimacy and love in the marriage.
Make a commitment
Contemplating the thought of getting out of the marriage for your sake could place major stress on the relationship, no matter how hard not to say it aloud. Just thinking about it results in a break of your determination to make the marriage work. To avoid this, you must make a commitment to do whatever you can to save your marriage and consequently keep the family intact. Vow to not make divorce an easy option.
Talk about your finances
A lot of marriages are destroyed by misunderstandings about money. Partners frequently have various expectations about their finances. One finds it hard to visualize someone else’s financial plan from his perspective. When you talk about money issues and how finances should be dealt with, you are reducing a tremendous amount of stress from your marriage. Talk about budget, strategies regarding debt, and your plans to live within your means. It’s also vital to talk about your wants and needs and to be able to differentiate between the two. This way, you and your spouse do not need to argue over what you consider important for the family.
Probably one of the toughest things to juggle in a marriage is how much time to spend with each other. If you spend too many hours or days of the week together, you might feel choked and unhappy. If you spend too little time, on the other hand, your spouse might think that you’re irresponsible and passive.
If your spouse asks for time with her friends or for herself, try to give her that as considerably as you can. In fact, you can even offer to watch the kids or do the chores for the day. On the contrary, also make sure that you two spend quality time together. Your dates don’t need to be costly. You can cook at home and have some wine on the patio if the kids need babysitting. What’s important is you have time to be with each other and feel each other’s respect, love, and affection.
Don’t hold grudges
Marriages are often ruined when one is not bent on forgiving. Studies have revealed that feeling angry and resentful toward your spouse almost always embitters and may result in divorce if the situation continues for a prolonged period.
Try as best you can to forgive your spouse. Don’t take too long to give it because forgiveness is a gift to yourself as it is for the person you are forgiving. Holding grudges increases your stress and certainly affects your health negatively. If you have made a mistake, apologize and ask for forgiveness sincerely. Listen and understand your spouse and commit not to do the same mistake again in the future.
If despite your efforts at trying to save your marriage, the relationship remains at risk and almost broken, consider seeking help from a therapist or counselor. When you and your partner can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong, a mediator that is professional and experienced can often be the last and only resort. Who knows, after a few talks and discussions, you’ll both realize that you are not ready to give up on the marriage after all.
Before I got married, I had been told to find Mr. Nice Guy, not Mr. Handsome or Mr. Sexy Abs. The reason was that nice men were not supposed to cheat. They were often contented with their lives and did not want to ruin whatever good they had going. When Eddie came along, I thought that I hit the jackpot and agreed to marry him after a year of dating.
When we exchanged “I do’s,” we decided that I would leave my job to start building our family. Money was the least of our worries, considering Eddie had an online gaming business. Even if we had a dozen kids, it would still be okay. Or so I thought.
I realized something was off when Eddie started coming home late later than usual. His excuse was that he was meeting new clients and developers over dinner. I would have believed it if it happened once or twice a week. However, its frequency increased, to the point that even the kids were already wondering where Dada was.
So, one day, I thought of dropping by at the restaurant where Eddie was supposed to meet so-called clients. We shared our Google calendars, so it was easy to find its location. But when I got there, the maître d’ said there was no table reservation under his name or company.
Want to know where I found my husband? Inside his office, fooling around with his new secretary.
I wanted to barge in the room for a split second and smack whoever I could reach first. But then, I decided to go in there as calmly as I could. When Eddie saw me, he could not hide the truth from me anymore.
I asked Eddie, “Why did you do it?”
He said, “I swear I didn’t mean to, honey. Tanya’s just always here, and she’s very sexy. You, on the other hand, well, you seem to have forgotten to take care of yourself. I mean, look at yourself now.”
The nerve of this man! Eddie’s hitting all the sore spots in my utterly low self-confidence. He knew how hard I was trying to get back in shape after baby #3. He knew how much I cried when I realized that I no longer fit in my size-4 clothes. Whenever I asked my husband if he still loved me despite all that, he immediately said yes. Little did I know, Eddie was merely answering like a robot to avoid hurting my feelings.
However, what he did this time was beyond that. He broke my trust and talked matter-of-factly as if his actions were justifiable. The arrangement that Eddie wanted was more absurd than that. He said, “I’ll only see Tanya during office hours, and I’ll be the perfect husband for you at home.”
Keeping a cool head, I told my husband, “I have a better idea. I’ll file for divorce first thing in the morning and get 40% of your company (as stipulated in our agreement before marriage). Then, you can see our kids on weekends. You’ll be free to do whatever you want with your slutty secretary.”
Of course, Eddie didn’t want any of that, especially not the 40% part of the company going to me. But he also knew that I would not back down and that my family and his parents would back me up, so he gave in. On the same night, our kids and I moved to the house that I bought before getting married.
Licking Old Wounds
I would be a fool not to admit that my husband’s infidelity did not affect my mental health. Not only did Eddie pick a woman who’s my exact opposite, but he also pointed out my flaws aloud. I had been honest to him regarding my insecurities since we were a couple; I didn’t know he would be THAT insensitive and throw it all back to me.
Luckily, I got real friends who were willing to help me get over my insecurities after divorce. They brought me to the gym for an hour every day while my parents babysat for my children. Our initial goal was for me to have a revenge body so that Eddie would realize what he lost. But the more I saw the positive results, the more I geared towards improving my body for myself.
It was too early for me to think of finding a new man, but I allowed my friends to drag me to a bar at least once a week. They gave me a makeover, and for the first time after having kids, I felt like my old self again. Even my eldest child commented, “Mama, you’re so pretty.”
In The End
My divorce was merely finalized last week. As my friends expected, Eddie started acting nice to me again and trying to win me back when he saw me lose weight. However, I already knew better than to take him back.
A perfect relationship doesn’t exist in this world. So, do not expect your partner to be flawless and reasonable every day. With this pandemic situation, it is usual that your other half may experience anxiety, stress, and even depression. Thus, you must understand that battling mental illness is a daunting process. The person dealing with psychological issues needs care, love, support, and understanding even more. Instead of demanding a lot from your spouse and adding pressure to his already stressful pandemic life, allow yourself to become your other half’s reason for living.
Patience And Understanding Can Go A Long Way
Mental illness like depression doesn’t always need a reason to strike. So if you found your partner depress and sad, you don’t always have to ask why. Because sometimes, you somehow already know the answer even if your partner does not. Depression can leave your other half in a blurry situation for hours. Sometimes it can last for days and weeks. When trying to figure out your other half’s depression, there is an emotional roller coaster that can happen at any moment. In some unfortunate instances, unwanted words can come out from your spouse’s mouth once an argument begins. It is also typical for your partner to become more sensitive and aloof at times.
As a loving partner, you have to be patient and understand your spouse’s emotional and mental state. Show how much you care by just simply being there. Always prepare yourself for possible mood swings and unexpected outbursts. Do not take their reactions personally. Do not force your other half to become aware of everything because when a mental illness gets involved, understanding can be a little different from what you know. Do not expect much energy from your partner because depression is something that you can’t simply shrug off any time you want.
Relationship And Mental Health
Depression can sabotage even the healthiest relationship. Sometimes, extreme pressure tends to push each other to fail. But that is not because of the couple’s inability to handle the situation. Instead, it is their lack of contribution to each other’s mental, physical, and emotional needs. Sometimes, a simple word and unusual behavior can trigger the other one’s irrational and impulsive response. That explains why there are times you tend to misinterpret your other half’s facial expressions, gestures, words, and reactions.
But to better understand the situation of the relationship, you need to acknowledge the effects of mental and emotional problems that weigh your partner down. It would be best if you respect your spouse’s boundaries because sometimes they need space. Avoid judging and basing your decisions on one or two mistakes your other half intentionally or unintentionally do. The way you see things is different from what your spouse is seeing. That is why you need to be more careful in choosing your words because you never know what the other person is dealing with emotionally and mentally.
Love, Care, And Support
Nobody wants to deal with mental issues, especially during this time of the pandemic. But since here it is, there is no escaping it. So, to get by and move forward, you have to take the necessary actions to improve your relationship despite the pressure. Yes, the process is not going to be that easy, but as long as you believe there are tons of things you can do, you will make it. Find time to talk to your spouse about current thoughts and feelings and be open-minded about it. Because at the end of the day, you and your partner will have to deal with the pressure hand in hand together.
For most people, this pandemic only causes emotional and mental distress. However, for others, this situation allows them to understand the kind of person they are living with entirely. In married couple’s lives, this pandemic situation makes them identify their entire marital issues. Because at this stage where both individuals are thrown together inside a house for 24/7, a lot of things can get a little rough. And sometimes, even the small error can lead to a different level of psychological and emotional torture.
For some, this situation can be an excellent way to get to know each other better. For most married couples, they try to be as positive as possible. They live together and work on dealing with the pandemic as much as they can. However, we can’t deny that some couples don’t appreciate the struggle of this global crisis. That is especially when all they can focus on is the way the situation is crushing their relationship. These include their financial, health, communication, as well as child-management.
At some point, there are long-term marriages that somehow survive the potential risk for marital breakdown. Perhaps that is because of the stuff that both partners pretty much get used to dealing with over the years of living together. That even if they do not talk about it, both can merely agree not to make a big deal out of it. However, not all married couples are emotionally reliable to handle even the slightest error in the relationship. In some unfortunate instances, an unexpected trigger can do all the damage. That explains why married couples during this time struggle to stay connected.
The Truth About This Situation And Married Life
Contrary to the idea that this Coronavirus outbreak brings couples together, well, it does not. At some point, it gives married individuals time to spend together and appreciate each other. But in reality, it does not support solving marital issues, especially when it gets related to previously unsolved ones. Yes, this pandemic situation gives time for married couples to reflect and evaluate themselves. However, it does not secure an intact realization in providing a solution to their already damaged marriage. At times, it can become evident that the end game for both individuals living with emotional and mental distress will be a signature over a divorce paper.
The most significant problem and real issue that comes up for married couples in this time of the pandemic is the lack of emotional awareness. Yes, there is a lot of anxiety and stress nowadays, and if one partner cannot contain the emotion, it explodes. And when that happens, things can go down the pit when one cannot handle the emotional outburst. There are lots of complaints about this pandemic situation, and the mental struggle of both parties destroy couples. Soon, one or both of them will come to a point where there is no sense to care for anything anymore.
Admittedly, there is no exact solution as to how couples could deal with marital issues regardless of being together 24/7. There is no guarantee either that if both of them agree onto something, it will fix the emotional and mental instability they have. That is despite them having the ability to save and patch things in their marriage. Yes, this pandemic situation stresses people up and ruins everything in their lives. Therefore, the aim of a definite goal should not end there. As long as both parties can openly discuss their flaws and weaknesses, the marriage might have a chance to survive the stress over this global health crisis.