One factor that commonly limits the effectiveness of any kind of counseling is that fact that, at the most, you are only in your shrink’s office for an hour every week or two. If long term behavioral change is called for, you must identify what change is necessary and practice it long enough and frequently enough to make it stick. An hour every week or two just ain’t enough time.
In couple’s counseling, the problem is worse. When you come as a couple, there is at least twice as much to talk about in the sessions. When a couple is trying to change their behavior, both must be willing to change at the same time. That’s a lot of moving parts to get going in the same direction at once.
This is why I often give homework. There’s not enough time in the sessions to talk about everything, much less try anything new. What you do in between sessions contributes far more to success than the sessions themselves.
I may suggest you read at least one of my books and carry out some of the suggestions found in them for homework. I sometimes feel funny bringing it up, because it can sound like I’m just trying to sell books, but I’m more familiar with what is in them than I am with any other material. So, if communication is an issue, I’ll send you off with Constructive Conflict: Building Something Good Out of All Those Arguments. If there was some hurting going on, then it’s The Road to Reconciliation: A Comprehensive Guide to Peace When Relationships Go Bad for you. If someone is motivated to make things right, then we’ll use How to Make an Apology You’ll Never Have to Make Again.
I recently found another tremendous resource that couples can use to improve their relationship. They call it WeConcile, an online educational and experiential course that guides users to improve their important relationships. It’s a 24-part journey you take with your partner and within yourself to rebuild your intimate connections.
You can sign up and go through the WeConcile exercises without working with a therapist, but if you do work with a therapist, he or she be there when you get stuck. Ideally, it will augment the work you do in therapy.
I must warn you though, the cost of WeConcile might alarm you. It’s not so much the money it costs. I think what they’re asking for is reasonable, well worth it, and could save you money in other ways. I mean the cost in time you will spend on the WeConcile program. It’s so thorough, it will take you about a year to go through it; and the exercises are so profound, you cannot dash them off quickly. Some of the lessons are also repetitive; but that’s by design, because no one learns new patterns of behavior without repetition.
I’ll say that again; no one learns new patterns of behavior without repetition; so, if you go into therapy, make it something you do every day, no matter whether you see your therapist that day or not. Use some additional resource to augment the change you desire.