Sunday, August 21, 2011

How to Invite Your Partner (or Another Family Member) to Counseling

One question I often get asked by my clients,and proepective clients,is "How do I get my husband/wife/partner/family member to join me?" It's important the way you approach this one.

If you have already begun counseling on your own,it may be appropriate to think about getting a referral to a neutral therapist,who has no prior history with either of you,or at least discuss that as an option with your therapist and with the family member you want to do some joint counseling with.If the three of you decide to go ahead and do the joint counseling together,you will all need to make sure that the person who joins you feels comfotable,and can have a voice in the counseling,too.

How do you ask someone to join you for joint counseling? You invite them! Let them know how important they are to you,and that you want the relationship to be at its very best.While you can work on the relationship with them on your own, you can let them know that it would be incredibly helpful for them to give direct feedback about the relationship with you to you and the therapist.I like to imagine what each relationship could be like if both partners took 150% responsible for the relationship.

You want to make it safe for your partner or loved one to enter a new situation,like starting conjoint counseling.Don't berate them. Encourage them to be a part of making things better between you.Ask for their help and input.We are all somewhat unaware of how we come across in our most intimate relationships.The other person holds a great deal of useful information about how it is to be in relationship with you.Choosing a therapist with a warm,active,and solution-oriented style can help make it easier to get started,too.

Life is too short to be in relationships that aren't highly functioning.We wouldn't usually do our own brain surgery,cut our own hair,or repair our own car.Enlisting a relationship expert,a marriage and family therapist,to coach you and your loved one can make a huge difference in just a few seassions.A recent study showed 85% of our happiness comes from our close relationships.Why wouln't you get a tune-up so you deal with conflict well,encourage and enjoy each other?

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