3 Common Mistakes When Starting Couples Counseling

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Have you ever considered couples counseling? Let’s be honest here, marriages after children take effort! As a mama of three kids under the age of 4, I have seen my marriage change, grow, and evolve with every new season of our crazy life. I also happen to be a therapist in private practice. Going to therapy as a couple can be a great tool to strengthen a relationship, but I often see couples in my office who are at a breaking point. When couples are at this breaking point, the stakes are high in a couples counseling session. Sadly I see couples unknowingly make mistakes when they start the counseling process. Today, I want to share with you some insider information. I want to share 3 of the biggest mistakes I see couples make in couples counseling.

3 Common Mistakes When Starting Couples Counseling Ashley Rodrigues Contributor Miami Moms Blog

Mistake #1: Deciding an Outcome Beforehand

Sadly enough, this is one mistake that leads to the worst outcome in couples counseling. A couple comes into therapy already deciding the outcome. Perhaps he has decided that sitting on a therapist’s couch for 4 weeks will be the magic cure to a happy marriage. His partner on the other hand, has decided that she is ready to walk away but wants to complete therapy so she can say that she “tried everything.” Rarely do I see both of these extremes within one couple, but they are a good example of the preconceived ideas that exist before the first session even starts. To avoid this mistake, manage your expectations of therapy and be honest about where you are within the relationship. An open mind is key!

3 Common Mistakes when Starting Couples Counseling Ashley Rodrigues Contributor Miami Moms Blog

Mistake #2: Not Being Willing to Change

Whether or not you ever step foot into couples counseling, this is a relationship mistake we are all guilty of committing. We want to change our partner’s behavior. Our behavior? Well, we aren’t doing anything wrong! It’s human nature to have this bias, but having the ability to look at your own actions and reflect on how they impact your partner is a huge part of success in couples counseling! If you want your partner to make changes, understand that you will need to make changes too. Never in a session have I turned to one partner and uttered the words, “Nope, you are perfect in this relationship, it is your partner we really need to work on.” 

3 Common Mistakes when Starting Couples Counseling Ashley Rodrigues Contributor Miami Moms Blog

Mistake #3: Keeping Secrets

Three of the most common arguments within relationships are over money, division of housework, and extended family issues. These “surface level” arguments are often the first things that come out in a counseling session. Perhaps it is a safe way to break the ice with your therapist but these “surface level” arguments are like symptoms of an illness. If we don’t dig deeper beyond dishes and an online shopping problem, nothing will change. This is where mistake #3 appears, keeping secrets from your partner and your therapist will always cause problems. It can be scary to talk about past indiscretions, problems in the bedroom, or long-held resentments. These tough topics are where the healing begins. If thinking about addressing those issues makes you squirm, it is okay. It is your therapist’s job to help get to the root of the issue!

I know as mothers it is easy to focus on our kids. Let’s be honest, we neglect our own care and sometimes our relationships. Model for your children what healthy relationships look like. Prioritize your marriage. Prioritize your well being and maybe even give couples counseling a try!

 

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Ashley Rodrigues is passionate about mental health, holistic wellness, and other mamas! Ashley is a licensed mental health counseling intern in the state of Florida as well as a registered yoga instructor. She provides counseling and psychotherapy to moms in south Florida, specializing in women’s issues, perinatal, postpartum, and anxiety. She also provides trauma informed yoga instruction. Ashley is wife to a Brazilian soccer coach and mom to a strong spirited, tutu loving, toddler girl. She is a recent transplant to Miami from Kansas City, and still finds every excuse to get to the beach. Ashley loves gardening, live music, food, and coffee. She is active on social media and hopes to provide moms practical tools to improve their mental health and wellness. Follow Ashley on instagram @AshleyRodriguesWellness

1 COMMENT

  1. Ashley, this is good!! So interesting to read for a therapist’s perspective. Thank you for sharing!

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