Is Couples’ Counseling Really Worth it?
Being a therapist who gets charged up working with people on the quality of their relationships, I have recently been asking myself this question. As a therapist, this question helps guide me closer to the most purposeful form of relationship work I can muster. For you as a client, I hope this question leads to other questions and curiosities about yourself, maybe your partner, and ultimately, of what the word “relationship” means to you!
Dr. John Gottman, professor of psychology at the University of Washington and executive director of The Relationship Research Institute, claims that the average therapy-seeking couple takes 6 years to reach for therapeutic help. More data suggests the average marriage in California lasts about 7 years. Most therapists who do relationship coaching or therapy of some kind would probably nod and agree from experience that they see people using their services as a last resort.
To me, this signifies that most of us are still stuck in viewing our relationships more in terms of outcome rather than in process. What is the problem with this? Well, most people don’t seem to face their relationships with clear intentions. Ask yourself right now: what is it that I most want from my most significant relationships? What did you notice about your response to this? Did you hesitate? Did you go blank? Did you know the answer immediately? In some ways it’s such a simple, straightforward question, yet how many of us grew up being supported in exploring our deepest intentions when it comes to lasting relationships.
Believe me, I get that this is hard work. I’ve spent much of my relationships feeling like I was a step behind my own needs, like a cat chasing its tail. I knew their was this mysterious part of me that would get upset, scared, or feel so important at times, and yet, why didn’t I know how to access it to understand what the hell it was that I wanted?!
It is from this perspective that I see profound potential in relationship coaching for all types of relationships: when we can get clear on what it is we want to experience in relationship-both for ourselves, and with others-we can begin to cultivate these relationships with greater success. So, if you are somebody looking for answers, support, or for hope amidst a crumbling relationship, I hope you consider the question above and your answer to it as a starting point for your own path to personal development and/or relationship coaching.