Five Essential Couples Therapy Questions to Help Improve Communication
The field of marriage counseling is still relatively new, only having risen to prominence in the late 1960s and ’70s. During this time, divorce rates began to explode, which led to an increased amount of interest in how couples therapy could be used to work out marital problems. Today, the field continues to help a large number of married couples combat their issues every year.
As with any family therapy, couples counseling aims to emphasize family relationships as a key factor in maintaining psychological health. Whether a problem is individual or rooted in the unity of two people’s relationship, family therapy posits that it benefits the issue to be discussed as bigger than just the person or people it affects. When you go into your first sessions, it might be wise to keep these five important couples therapy questions in mind.
How are you communicating with each other?
It’s one of the most well-known bits of relationship advice, but it’s still often neglected: Communication is key. A lack of communication between partners can mean a lack of understanding, which, in time, can turn into a buildup of resentment and increased tension. Want some good advice on relationships? Keep talking. You’ll be amazed at what positive results this simple tip could yield.
Are you taking responsibility?
An individual’s first instinct is often to blame others for his or her problems, but that’s just not going to work in a healthy relationship — especially a marital union. This is one of the most crucial couples therapy questions because it forces each separate person to focus on his or her learning and growth. Too many spouses attempt to make the other change, which is a express lane to relationship gridlock.
Which issues are lurking under the surface?
It might be just more than communication that needs retooling. Are there differences in thought for financial matters? Anger from past arguments that still haunts your current thoughts? Couples therapy exercises are the perfect place to air these grievances in a positive way, with the therapist there to mediate and guide the conversations.
What is your counselor doing for you?
Always ensure your therapist is doing his or her part to engage both parties in finding their own relationship solutions. Too many psychologists and counselors attempt to act as marriage experts despite not having a solid foundation in cooperative communication and conflict resolution. Demand the best for your marriage, and that includes asking the best couples therapy questions of both your partner and your therapist.
What do you want to ask each other?
Speaking of questions, never shy away from learning more about your partner. Assuming we’ve learned everything there is to learn is an invitation to intellectual and empathetic suicide, so remain open. Couples therapy questions exercises like reporter questions (to get facts), descriptive questions (to understand emotions) and narrative questions (to piece events together) can help each partner gain a more thorough understanding of his or her life partner. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? More.