It takes courage for couples to come to counselling. Courage because this is often unchartered territory for many and they’re not certain what they’re letting themselves in for. For some the idea of discussing their private life with a stranger engenders feelings of vulnerability and embarrassment. Others however are so damn angry and desperate that it’s a relief to take this first step towards sorting out what feels like an interminable problem, and the fact that it’s someone unknown they are discussing this with they find more helpful than difficult.
Solution-focused counselling is a logical and collaborative process. You will be helped to identify what exactly you want to achieve. A skilled solution-focused therapist will guide you towards considering the issues in ways you may not have thought of before. This way of working on a problem goes a long way towards expelling feelings of awkwardness and vulnerability, and anger can be less overwhelming when a couple is trying to sort out their problem logically in this way. This approach also allays the concerns about counselling held by many men in particular, who worry that the counselling will entail much emotiveness and touchy-feely exploration that will make them deeply uncomfortable. In solution-focused therapy we don’t create problems for clients by analysing, interpreting, judging, or making assumptions, as this has the effect of forcing clients to discuss areas they don’t see as a problem and we don’t prescribe ways of feeling or behaving.
Some couples worry though that this logical process will mean that their troubled pasts, their resentments and disappointments will remain unexplored and unvoiced. The solution-focused process doesn’t exclude talking about past influences- they may well arise as solutions are being sought – it’s merely that in this form of therapy influences from the past are discussed in light of what you would like to do about them in the present. In this way you can take some control over past events – you are no longer the victim of them. You can’t change past events but you can change your perception of them and their negative influences on your life.
One of the great things about couple counselling is that as a couple you have access to two viewpoints and many ideas to pool and explore for solutions – that’s a huge advantage. And during counselling since you are both going through the process of change, you can better understand and appreciate the work each of you are doing to resolve things.
What you may not know is that counselling for couples (as for individuals and young people) can also include humour and can be creative and enlightening – sorting out problems doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.