Going into a therapy session can be overwhelming, you know you will be facing some tense discussions. Here are some guidelines to how you can support yourself and your relationship before you even open the door.
Renew Your Purpose
Remind yourself why you are going to counseling. You want a stronger relationship and a sense of safety and connection. If you have had previous sessions, identify one or two breakthroughs where either you or your partner were able to see or say something you hadn’t noticed before. Even small signs of progress mean that your relationship is growing and not stagnant.
Don’t underestimate the calming and connecting power of a hug, kiss, holding hands, or a quick snuggle before walking in the waiting room.
Clear Your Mind
Areas of insecurity and anger often come up in these conversations and it can build a sense of dread before session. If you need to, try writing down the things that are running through your mind. Some of them may be relationship related, but you may find that work and other issues are adding to your stress. Try to let those go so they don’t hijack your emotional presence for your session. Take a few deep breaths. Imagine the tension leaving with each exhale. As you inhale, visualize a blanket of calm settling over your body.
Verbally acknowledge that you two are a team, that you are learning how to communicate better with one another, and that you are working on the marriage. Having each other’s back helps make it safe enough to talk about the hard stuff.
Get on the Same Page
If there was one thing you could discuss in this session, what would it be? Check in to see if you are both to address the same thing in session. (You can also do this the night before). Agreeing on an agenda puts you on the same side even when addressing an area of conflict.
Ultimately, you will get the most out of your sessions when you agree on your purpose and keep showing up to do the work for your relationship.