Should You Seek Relationship Counseling Again?

When to Give Relationship Counseling a Second Try

Despite its impressive record for saving relationships, couples counseling doesn't work for everyone, every time. If you had an unsatisfying experience the first time you tried couples therapy, here's why you should consider trying again.

Assessing Your Chances for Success

While some troubled relationships inevitably come to an end, others can be saved with the right guidance. To determine if you and your partner should take another shot at relationship counseling, ask yourself the following questions:

Has your resolve strengthened?

Some people enter couples counseling with lukewarm motivations. They may believe there's not really a problem. They may feel as if they were forced into therapy by their partners. Sure, they want their relationships to improve; however, they expect the counselor to do most of the work. Truth be told, the success of marriage counseling depends greatly on the motivation level of both partners. If you suspect your partner wasn't really on board last time, have a discussion to see if continuing issues may have strengthened his or her resolve to try again.

Have your intentions changed?

For certain couples, relationship counseling is really divorce counseling, because they've already given up hope. This can cause them to unintentionally sabotage therapy by refusing to engage. Even after unsuccessful therapy, couples often remain together despite their plans to separate. Over time, they may become hopeful again and decide their relationship is worth fighting for after all. If you both have decided to hang in a while longer, you may be more emotionally prepared to make counseling work.

Was the therapist a bad fit?

Sometimes therapy misses the mark, because the personalities just don't mix. If you didn't click with your last therapist, there's absolutely no reason to expect a similar experience with someone new. When choosing your next therapist, make sure to find someone who has extensive experience working with couples. The therapist should also be a good fit for both partners. After all, if your partner feels uncomfortable with the counselor, he or she is likely to drop out.

Is the timing better?

Sometimes life gets in the way of successful relationship counseling. Busy schedules, work stress, health problems, family issues and major life events can all prevent a person from making the most of therapy. Exhausted, frayed minds are not fertile environments for emotional growth. If things have settled down, you should consider giving counseling another shot.

Good timing is essential to successful couples therapy. Unfortunately, many couples wait far too long to seek help. By the time they agree to counseling, their relationships are poisoned by resentment, hostility and poor communication. For many, a failed attempt at couple's counseling can serve to reinforce feelings of frustration and doubt.

In reality, an initial stumble can actually pave the way toward success by helping couples recognize and avoid the pitfalls that hinder communication and compassion. If your first attempt at relationship counseling ended with disappointment, consider trying again while there's still time to turn things around.

Foundations Counseling provides counseling to help couples with a broad spectrum of relationship obstacles, contact us today!