If you and your significant other don't seem to be communicating as well, are working through trust issues or feel like things are falling apart, relationship counseling may be just what you need to get things back on track. Relationship counseling centers around building effective communication skills, while addressing other issues within the relationship. No matter how serious the issues, a good relationship counselor can help you both talk more openly and work on problems, but relationship counseling doesn't always result in couples staying together. Sometimes, through communication and counseling, one or both parties may decide the most healthy thing for the relationship is to end it. Before going to relationship counseling, know which questions you want to ask, so you'll get the most out of the experience.
Are you willing to go to relationship counseling with me?
Ask your significant other whether going to relationship counseling is something he or she would be willing to do, even if reluctantly. Couple's counseling requires the participation of both people in the relationship for it to work, so make sure everyone is on board before scheduling an appointment with a therapist.
Do we need relationship counseling?
Before diving into relationship counseling, ask whether counseling is really something that is needed. For minor issues, couples may be able to work things out on their own. If all else has failed, however, counseling may be the best option.
How are our communication skills?
One of the most important things in any relationship is communication. Unfortunately, many of us are not naturally blessed with exceptional skill in this department. Ask yourself how you think your communication skills are, and talk to the therapist about ways to improve communication in your relationship.
Which types of payment do you accept?
Even if your insurance will cover your sessions, there will likely be co-pays and other charges to pay at each visit. Ask ahead of time which payment methods are accepted so you come to your sessions prepared to focus on your relationship.
What can we expect from therapy?
At your first session, ask your counselor or therapist to outline what you should expect from counseling. A good therapist should have a good idea of the direction she wants to take based on the issues being addressed. A therapist or counselor who can't give you an answer is probably not the one you want to spend your time with.
What are the issues we need to work on?
One of your first tasks during relationship counseling is figuring out what really needs to be addressed and worked on. Ask your therapist for his recommendations, and talk to your significant other, as well. Also, check in with yourself to figure out what you see as the most pressing issues are that need addressing.
Have you worked with issues like ours before?
Just because someone is licensed as a relationship counselor or therapist doesn't mean they're skilled in dealing with every type of issue. Before agreeing to see a therapist or counselor, ask whether he has ever worked with issues similar to what you're dealing with. If not, you may want to move on to a different counselor.
Which style of therapy or counseling do you use?
There are many different therapy and counseling styles, and you want to make sure you find the one that works best for you. Ask your therapist or counselor which style they use and why she feels it will work for you and your significant other.
What are your credentials?
Therapy and counseling are two different things and have different licensing requirements. Make sure you know the credentials of your counselor or therapist before you begin sessions. This is important information that can help you understand exactly what you might expect from counseling, as well as the limitations. It will also give you a better idea of how much training and experience your counselor or therapist has.
How long can we expect to be in relationship counseling?
While the length of time you're in counseling will depend greatly on the issues at hand and how quickly you and your significant other progress, you should be able to get at least a general idea of how long couples usually remain in counseling. If your therapist or counselor can't give you an estimated time frame, ask what he will be looking for to know it's time for counseling to come to an end.
Do you accept my insurance?
Relationship counseling is a great way to improve your relationship, but it often doesn't come cheap. Before setting foot in the door, find out whether the counselor or therapist takes your insurance. If not, ask about rates and any sliding scales or financing they may offer.