The therapeutic relationship is a partnership between the therapist and the client(s). As in any partnership, there are roles that each partner must play in order for the partnership to work and results to be attained. While it is much easier to blame it on the therapist when “therapy did not work”, that is not always the reason. I will admit that not every therapist is great. There will be times when the therapist’s style does not work for a particular client. I’ve been known to let out a smile or two when people told me how they thought their therapist was supposed to be seeing a therapist instead of being one. I will express compassion when someone shares about a bad therapy experience. What many people don’t want to hear is that it is not always the therapist’s doing that kept them from benefiting form therapy. Very often, when therapy did not work it was because of something that the client did or failed to do. These five tips will help your prevent some of the more common hindrances to therapeutic success.
1. Set treatment goals with your therapist that you and your partner agree on
2. Show up with an open mind and forgiving heart
3. Follow through with homework and activities
4. Make counseling a priority not an after thought
5. Stick it through
We often hear how important communication is in a relationship, but the tip ends there. Very often people do want to be great communicators but are not sure where to begin. To strengthen communication in your relationship, remember to:
Set aside time to be together and time to talk
Talk about the good and the bad things
Learn and share each other’s cues
Listen to each other and respect your partner’s views
Talk about things when they come up
Forget who they are talking to- This is your spouse, you partner in this life journey, not an enemy. You have to take that in consideration even and especially when you are upset.
Make decision solo /with others then TELL them- If you fail to include your partner in discussions and decisions it’s not quite fair and may be a bit naïve to expect that they will simply buy in. Communication focuses on a discussion not dictation.
Quiet Forgiveness / Suffer in Silence- If you are going to let something go you can still tell your partner that there was something that bothered you. When you just let it go and don’t make them aware, you risk a repeat that you may not be as willing to let go.
Forget the difference between communicating & Arguing/ Fighting- Having a discussion and communicating are not the same as arguing or fighting. You have to be careful not to allow your fear of getting into fight to prevent you from communicating.
Failing to listen / HEAR your partner- Communication is more than hearing the sounds. You must listen to your partner and take in the messages they share. It is important to value and validate the things they share to encourage continued communication.
Find out what the catalyst to infidelity was- Was there an unmet need or is the person not ready for a monogamous relationship?
Take time to process and experience your feelings and then express them- Don’t throw yourself into action and ignore what you are feeling.
Determine what it will take to make you feel safe and trusting in that relationship again.
Decide what you as a couple are prepared to do to repair your relationship.
Make a joint decision on the future of your relationship.
We often hear about the emotional affair, but another one gradually making its way into the mix is the social media affair. It may not necessarily mean that you are going to connect offline to do more than chat, but getting too involved online can and often do cause real life relationship issues. There are times that the person involved may believe that they were not doing anything wrong, but if they only thought about it, they may have noticed that something was afoot. Before you fing your own relationship in trouble here are a few things to keep in mind.
Adding friends that you would not have offline or that your spouse would not agree with?
Most people on social media do have some friends that they would only connect with online. It’s when you start having that special friend that you know you would not keep offline or that your spouse can’t know you are chatting with that you start falling into that danger zone.
Sharing things that you would not share offline?
It never fails that someone sends an image that ends up where it wasn’t supposed to and then the problems start. Anything that is too private to reveal in person is too private for your message box. If you were going to share some “For Your Eyes Only” type images, they should only be with your spouse. Given the nature of privacy on the web just don’t do it at all.
Meeting up in private chats at odd hours?
When you start getting into private chats people that you are looking forward to a little bit too much, or chats that have to take place at certain odd hours of the night you really need to look at what you are doing.
Having discussions you wouldn’t want your spouse to know about? With someone you don’t want them to know about?
People get very comfortable and open behind the safety of a screen. That distance allows people to say things that they may not be able to say with another pair of eyes looking directly at them. If conversations are getting too personal – you may want to start pumping the brakes.
Are you having relationships that make you feel guilty, sneaky or different about your spouse?