5 Myths about Relationship Counseling

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When you hear “going to relationship counseling,” the phrase is often followed up by a this-can’t-be-a-good-thing feeling. There are preconceived ideas about who goes, what it means and what happens during a counseling session such as:

“If you need to go to someone to help you fix it, you’re a failure”; “The relationship must be on the verge of breakup”;

“The counselor will just determine a ‘winner’ and dictate ‘who is right.’” Sound familiar?

Television shows and movies just add to the stigma and may be the only place many people have ever “experienced” {I use the term experienced lightly} counseling. So, I’d like to dispel these 5 myths about relationship counseling so that the next time you or someone you know is considering it, you can shove these myths right out of your mind. 

Myth No. 1: The counselor will just pick a side

Just so you know I am not into choosing sides. I mean, if it takes two to tango, you can bet your sweet patootie it takes two to carve crevices into a relationship. In relationship counseling, each person will be right in some ways and wrong in others, and it’s my job to help you forgive the wrong and build on the right. 

Many people have never witnessed a healthy relationship, so relationship counseling is a great way to learn how to make your love work and last without below-the-belt comments and disrespectful actions. It’s the counselor’s job to help you with effective methods of communication that will make the relationship stronger, not to point fingers of blame. Our collective goal in relationship counseling is to advocate for the relationship, and pitting one partner against another is just not going to work. My office is a no blame game, no judgemental zone!

Myth No. 2: Our relationship will be “fixed” in one session

Ok, I have to stand up for all the couples counselors out there when I say this—you didn’t create your problems in one day so they will not be fixed in one day. But that’s okay, anything worth having is worth waiting for, right? And for the record I don’t “fix” relationships, I challenge them to be better! Relationships are not like electronics where you can fix a problem with one push of a reset button.

Relationships involve emotions, thoughts and perceptions that need to be understood not fixed. So your troubles may not be fixed in the first session, but they will be discussed and you can have relief that everything is out in the open and there is a plan in place to create the relationship you and partner desire. I know, the big question is “how many sessions will it take?” but there is no set number; well, not the way I do things!

I treat every couple as unique because all relationships have unique needs. I don’t do the cookie-cutter approach. But one universal aspect of couples counseling is that you get out of it what you put in (aka time, energy and effort). As I tell my couples, if you are in it to achieve your relationship goals then I am with you all the way!

Myth No. 3: Counseling is too expensive and will take too much time

Relationship counseling is an investment in your future. It does cost time and money, but I believe that making your relationship better is priceless—don’t you? Relationships don’t come with manuals which is why many of us need help to repair our relationships when they start going down the wrong path. And, for you proactive ladies and gentlemen, a licensed therapist can help you learn skills to prevent you from making the wrong turn in your relationship.

Think of it like this, just as you would call upon other experts for financial, legal or fitness/nutrition advice, a couples counselor can support you in seeing the big picture and achieving your long-term goals. So, don’t put your relationship on the back burner, learn to nurture it like you would anything else that is important to your happiness.

Myth No. 4: Those who need counselors are failures

Starting relationship counseling is actually one of the bravest things you can do. Investing in relationship counseling shows that you wish to take control and improve your relationship instead of watching it crumble in front of your eyes. Failure to me is when you stop trying—actually give up without trying to find a solution.

Going to counseling takes courage and commitment which are both essential to being successful in life and relationships. I know it may seem strange going outside of family and friends to discuss personal issues.

However, sometimes having an objective party who can provide a critical sounding board to release stress and vent frustrations can help us gain more clarity without judgement and the dreadful “I told you so.” So if you need relationship help, get it, failing is not an option!

Myth No. 5: You’re headed for a breakup

I believe relationship counseling is beneficial for ALL couples. Although it’s true many couples decide to try counseling when things are so troublesome that this is the “last hope,” it doesn’t always indicate that’s true. What it does always indicate is that the couple has prioritized the relationship and wishes to make it better for the future no matter its status today.

What is NOT a myth is that if your relationship is in trouble and you don’t seek help, you will either stay in the relationship and be unhappy or leave the relationship without giving a 100% to finding a solution. I don’t know about you but neither one of these are good outcomes. Even if you just give one counseling session a try, at least you will have peace of mind that you did everything you could to save your relationship.

Remember, you and your partner have the power to create the relationship you want. And a counselor will help you develop the blueprint to overcome challenges in your relationship to achieve your relationship goals while kicking the idea of “breaking up” to the curb!

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  • So true! I think couples in crisis need an unbiased third party to listen to their issues and guide them. Counseling sessions are definitely not a waste of money. Particularly if your insurance will cover some of the costs. I believe some partners are afraid that their insecurities and weaknesses will be discovered. They don’t want to be vulnerable. But that’s how the healing begins.