Article on uselfulness of couples counseling

Here’s an interesting article on couples counseling, giving some food for thought on tough questions to ask yourself about your relationship before going into therapy together.

Does Couples Counseling Work?

By Molly Triffin
Are you skeptical about the benefits of couples counseling? Our checklist may be able to help you determine if counseling would work for you.

Rumor has it that after seeing a couples counselor two years ago, Madonna and Guy Ritchie posted a list of relationship guidelines on the wall of their Manhattan apartment. A few of the reported rules: Guy must work to “enrich his wife’s emotional and spiritual well-being” Guy must set aside time to read Kabbalah texts with his wife; both parties must “not use sex as a stick to beat one another.”

Despite these meticulous measures, Madge and Guy still decided to split. And that begs the question: Does couples counseling really help? “Ultimately, if you really love the person, it’s worth it to pull out all the stops,” says Debbie Magids, Ph.D., author of All the Good Ones Aren’t Taken. “But at some point, if things aren’t getting better, you have to reassess.”

If you’re in a long-term relationship and having serious issues with your guy, you may want to consider going to therapy together (it costs about $150 to $200 a session, on average). Take a look at the checklist on the next page. The more questions you answer yes to, the greater the possibility that counseling could work for you.

Do the good times outweigh the bad?
If you enjoy being with your man the majority of the time, don’t call it quits just yet.

Can you forgive him?
When trouble stems from a betrayal, such as cheating, it can be tough to move past that. But in order to have a strong relationship, you must be able to let go of the resentment.

Is the root of your conflict caused by an external force?
If an outside factor (for instance, he lost his job or there’s an illness in your family) is putting stress on your relationship, the tough time is likely conditional and temporary.

Do you agree on the fundamentals of life?
You can find a happy medium when it comes certain disagreements, like how tidy you want to keep your pad. But others, such as whether or not you want to have kids in the future, are so fundamental that you need to be on the same page.

Is the relationship worth the work you’ll have to put in?
Some couples are naturally more compatible than others, so their bonds are relatively easy to keep strong. Those who aren’t as closely matched have to work harder to resolve differences of opinion and lifestyle. That doesn’t mean your connection is any less wonderful, it just takes more effort to get to that point, so you need to be up for the challenge.

Source: Joanne Magdoff, Ph.D., psychologist in New York; Debbie Magids, Ph.D.

Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.

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