On occasion, I get spouses who question how useful couples counseling is going to be. I never try to convince them differently, but I am motivated for them to have a different experience.
Some individuals don’t believe in therapy, whether it’s individual or couples counseling. Usually, these folks haven’t been in counseling and have somehow come to this conclusion. Others have been in couples counseling but have had bad experiences, e.g., more conflict during and/or after sessions.
One thing that I do know about effective couples counseling is that virtually all couples will improve how they communicate with one another. Communication is a teachable skill set. Also, the majority of these couples will stay together.
Raymond is one such skeptic who questioned the usefulness of couples counseling but for different reasons. He had an affair fifteen years ago, and the couple is still processing it. His wife has been controlling over the years; therefore, he says he can’t be himself in the relationship.
In counseling, the couple has already processed the affair more effectively. Raymond’s wife is also less controlling, and if these dynamics show up, they appear in more subtle forms. Raymond is able to be more of himself in the relationship, but whether he can overcome fifteen years of these dynamics is still in question. Most skeptics benefit, and skeptics like Raymond at least still have a chance.