In my first session with couples, I typically ask them what their goals are for couples counseling—what they want to accomplish as a result of doing couples counseling. Eric gave a response that I never heard before, “I want us to be closer when we’re done talking.”
This goal really captures the goal of couples counseling. All relationships have issues. But what differentiates successful couples from less successful couples is their ability to discuss these issues. If couples can respectfully talk about issues, they will feel closer as a result.
Eric’s response suggests that this process is not occurring in their relationship. In fact, some of their conflicts could last two to three hours. Our work is to have these conversations in our sessions and guide them to have more effective and efficient conversations. Good dialogue brings couples closer.