You and your partner have been together for a while and you think you are keeping the relationship healthy. There are date nights, shared tasks, and a framework of communication you have established as a couple. But are you really doing all you can for your relationship?
This is where proactive counseling makes sense.
What is Proactive Counseling?
Proactive counseling means seeing a therapist together before things get bad.
“Wait a minute,” you might be thinking. “Why should we attend counseling if things are going well? Counseling is supposed to be for couples in trouble, isn’t it? ”
That’s actually a therapy myth. Here’s why.
You are More Receptive with Proactive Counseling
If you and your partner attend counseling together, when the relationship is doing well, you are both much more likely to be open to each other’s point of view. If there is disagreement, with the help of the therapist, you can work through those issues.
Unfortunately, most couples choose to go to therapy under duress. It is usually as a last resort. It is much easier to go to therapy when each person is in an open, loving, and caring frame of mind.
You are More Willing to Accept Responsibility
Let us say that you and your partner have a disagreement, one where you need to take responsibility for your actions. Perhaps it was something simple, such as forgetting to wash the dishes. For couples who are not in a good place, such a minor lapse in memory can be the trigger point for a much larger argument.
Why? Because buried resentments and negative thoughts about each other have been simmering under the surface. When you forget to wash the dishes, all those hurt feelings come back up in the form of an argument.
However, if you are in a good, productive place with your partner, you can more easily accept responsibility for your mistake. Also, your partner is going to be open to hearing your apology and both of you can move on. What becomes a major obstacle for some couples is merely a speed bump for you.
You are More Likely to Seek to Feedback
Another reason to attend proactive counseling is that you both will be more open to feedback from the counselor. A therapist can be a neutral third-party who can make observations and provide ideas on how you can refine communication and listening skills. Remember, just because you are already good communicators doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new!
You Notice Potential Problems Before They Become Crises
Because the counselor is that third-party, you can take a step back together and note any quirks or potential problems before they become bigger issues. For example, do you constantly please your partner at the expense of your own needs?
For example, do you constantly please your partner at the expense of your own needs? Neither of you may consider that a problem now, but it could be an issue, years down the road.
Your therapist will be able to give that feedback now. As a couple, you will be better able to address it in a loving manner, unhindered by disappointment or defensiveness.
You Know That You Support Each Other
Proactive counseling provides a learning experience, helping you learn more about each other as individuals and how you relate as a couple. This includes both your strengths and your struggles.
In turn, therapy becomes an opportunity to support each other, to know that your partner has your back, and to strengthen your loving connection. Knowing that your partner supports you is important for any loving relationship to survive.
Proactive counseling is just that, proactive. It is the chance to smooth out wrinkles in your relationship now before they become canyons. This does take work, but it is much easier to accomplish when both partners are still in love, open to each other, and doing the work to actively prevent resentments that create distance.