The decision to seek help from a relationship or marriage counsellor is an indication that you and your partner realize something needs work and that both of you are willing to put forth the effort. While you will likely go into those first sessions with some preconceptions about what happens, most of them will prove false. Here are some examples of things you will learn as the counseling moves forward.
Many private sessions as well as marriage workshops in Calgary begin by attempting to gather as much information as possible. The goal is to help the counsellor get a better idea of what's happening currently, how the relationship got to the current state, and what the hopes of each party happens to be. During this phase, don't expect for the counsellor to come up with a lot of answers. The time will come when the issues currently present will be addressed. For now, be prepared to share your perspectives and provide the background for your history together.
Some people enter counseling convinced that the professional will quickly point out the obvious fault of the other party and become an ally. In a real sense, the process of relationship counseling in Calgary does mean the therapist becomes an ally - to both parties. During the counseling, the goal is not to prove one party wrong and the other right. It's a process of discovery that hopefully helps both to see how their actions and thoughts led them to this point in their relationship. Once it's clear that the counsellor is not there to assign blame to one party, it will be easier to proceed.
When it comes to participating in any type of relationship counseling, honesty to the point of being blunt is essential. There must be no holding back on what each party thinks and feels. Choosing to keep things bottled up inside is one of the more common reasons that relationships go through difficult periods. It's only when you decide to be brutally honest about what you think and how it impacts your feelings about your partner that things will begin to come together.
Talking honestly is only the beginning. There must also be a willingness to listen to what the other person thinks and feels. Many couples find that they are surprised at what's on the mind of the other party. While there may be the temptation to become defensive, that will accomplish nothing. A better approach is to respect that the other person is sharing their perspective and attempt to understand how they came to feel and think that way.
Expect the couples' counsellor to ask more questions during this phase. The goal is to make sure everyone is clear on what each person feels. Once that's done, there is more of a basis for dialogue and the counsellor can take on more of a role as mediator.
Ultimately, the counsellor is not going to come up with a way to save the relationship in five easy steps. You and your partner remain responsible for where things go from here. In many cases, this means the counseling helps the couple find their own answers on how to improve the relationship and discover each other all over again. In some cases, it means coming to the conclusion that the two would be better off apart.
Counseling is intended to help people find the answers that are best for them. Go into the sessions with an open mind, be prepared to share honestly, and sincerely listen to what the other person has to say. Doing so improves the chances for both of you being happier in the years to come.