The secret to couples counselling: managing expectations (part 2)


Talking with a counsellor can help. 1866 833-7690

a coupleIt’s very understandable that people sitting in their own unhappiness look to counsellors to help them feel better and to help improve their relationships. Sometimes however, client expectations of their counsellor are too high. Counsellors work very hard to help their clients, and bring a lot of skill and expertise to the table, but we have no super powers and can’t perform miracles.

Here is a list of things counsellors cannot do for you:

  • Counsellors do not have magic power over your partner, and cannot make them see things your way or make them do things as you want them done.
  • Counsellors aren’t judges with special “lie detecting powers” and won’t decide which partner is telling “the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”
  • Counsellors cannot change people’s minds if they have already decided to separate.
  • Counsellors have a very hard time interrupting a couple’s argument process if that couple really wants to verbally disagree in the counselling room. (If you and your partner are really intent on verbally duking it out with each other, the counselling office is likely not the place for you.)
  • Counsellors are not on your side or on your partner’s side so there is no need to try to win them over to your point of view. The counsellor is on the side of the couple, comprised of both parties – the two people in the relationship.
  • Counsellors cannot make your relationship better by themselves. Counsellors will use all of their skill, training and expertise to make your relationship work better, but they will need the engaged support of both members of the couple to make it happen.

The fact of the matter is this: if you are locked into focusing on your partner as the entire problem and have no interest or ability to look at yourself, you might as well save your time and money and not come for counselling. It just won’t work, plain and simple. Instead, come prepared to focus on yourself and to learn about your partner. Renew your commitment to the relationship by committing to the experience. Understanding your role and managing your expectations of the counsellor will create a potentially better outcome from the experience itself and for you as a couple in counselling.

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