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Therapy. It’s a word that strikes fear and dread into the heart of many. There is a strong stigma attached to the act of going to counseling because many people believe that it is some kind of failure or a sign of weakness. In reality, it takes courage to seek help and it is a sign that you value your relationship enough to work on it. Keep reading to learn the top ten signs that you and your spouse might need counseling and to receive some tips for making the most of it.

The Top 10 Signs You Need Counseling

There are times in life when you need a little help. Some people have more difficulty admitting to this than others, especially when it comes to relationship problems. Here are the top five signs you and your partner could benefit from couples counseling:

1. You rarely talk anymore
2. You are constantly fighting
3. You are afraid to speak up about concerns
4. You withhold affection as a form of punishment
5. You think of your partner as the enemy
6. You have started to keep secrets
7. You’re thinking about having an affair
8. You’ve become financially dishonest
9. You think everything would be better if he/she changed
10. You are essentially living separate lives

This is by no means a definitive list, but the things on this list are definitely a sign that you and your spouse or partner should consider counseling.

Tips for Making the Most of Counseling

If you and your spouse decide to give counseling a try, you need to enter each session with an open mind. If you go in with a negative attitude, you aren’t going to get anything out of it and you certainly won’t be able to resolve any of your issues. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your couples counseling sessions:

1. Set goals for yourself. If you want your relationship to work, you’re both going to need to make some changes but it is better to focus on your own goals rather than your goals for your partner.
2. Be open and honest. Sharing your most intimate thoughts and feelings can be scary but you two aren’t going to make any progress unless you’re honest with each other.
3. Take it seriously. If you go into each counseling session with a negative attitude, thinking that it isn’t going to help, then it won’t. You need to put in the time and effort to make it work.
4. Cut your partner some slack. Ask yourself honestly if there are some assumptions you’ve been making about your partner or if you’re being too hard on them – give them the same respect you want them to give you.
5. Find yourself again. Many people in relationships become so focused on being part of a couple that they lose their independence. A healthy relationship is one in which two healthy individuals come together – in addition to working on your relationship, you may need to work on yourself as well.

Maintaining a healthy relationship takes work – if it isn’t difficult from time to time, you probably aren’t doing it right. Just because you and your partner bicker occasionally or have issues you need to work through doesn’t mean that you should give up. It may simply mean that you need a little help. There is no shame in going to counseling so, if you and your spouse are having trouble, consider it as an option.

~ VS Glen Community Support
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