As an experienced and seasoned Couples Therapist with 27 years of experience working with couples and seeing them through their most difficult times, I have seen couples use the safety that sessions provides in a variety of ways. The safety of session created by the therapist allows couples to express things to each other that they could not find space and time to talk about by themselves. When I start working with a couple, I generally talk with the couple about my role. I share that my role as a Couples Therapist is to help them have a healthy process and that I am not invested in them staying together or being apart in particular because sometimes staying together can be unhealthy.
I find that defining my role in this way often sets the couple at ease and creates space for them to talk to each other about their thoughts of staying in the relationship or leaving. This sharing is often a new experience for the couples with whom I work. In general, they have only expressed their unsure feelings and thoughts about their relationship with each other in angry exchanges. With the understanding that I am focused on the couple having a healthy process, the couple is freed up to talk to each about the full range of their feelings and thoughts in the safety of session. In these discussion, the partners are encouraged by the therapist express to each other their vulnerable feelings as well such as loss, fear and long for the other. In reality, the anger expressed between partners often masks more vulnerable feelings the couple has not shared with each other but that could be part of their healing.
Safety in the session is essential for couples counseling to be successful while participating in couples therapy. A Couples Therapist’s job, in my opinion, is to do all that they can to offer couples new experiences and new opportunities to try something different. The therapist’s neutrality about the outcome of therapy is one tool of many that some Couples Therapist use to help couples. Even when there is such turmoil in a relationship that one might think that couples therapy might not be helpful or needed, this way of viewing therapy has its place in helping couples heal. Some couples stay together because they do not know how to say goodbye and fear the repercussions a true goodbye could incite. When a couples I am working with does end their relationship in the course of therapy, I always offer the couple an additional session to talk about how they will go about separating their lives. This has proven especially useful for couples with children. In session this final session, the couple is offered opportunities to discuss how they will go about co-parenting their children and separating their belongings. This can allow for a peaceful ending which is beneficial to the emotional health of both partners and especially helpful to the children that both parents love.
When you experience difficult times in your relationship, we hope that you will consider the therapist’s at Compass Family Counseling when you are looking for a family or couples counselor. Our team of seasoned licensed counselors have the experience that can help. We deeply care about families and are committed their healthy. We hope this information helps you become a better consumer when looking for a counselor and that it encourages you to consider the safety that session should you and your partner ever be in need of a safe and confidential place to see if you can work it out together.
Russ Urrutia, LCSW –
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Compass Family Counseling