“We enter into fulfilling intimate relationships only on the basis of respect for our differences. It is on the basis of this respect that we can love one another.”

“Couple therapy,” Dan Bloom, lecture, 2012

Couple counseling opens a safe clearing where people begin to communicate their needs and feelings —including the desire to change— without fear of being attacked or criticized. They experience that to communicate includes both being listened to and being open to listen. In such an atmosphere, people are able to experience how old ways of destructive conflict can change into productive dialogue. They see one another as if anew.

Not every couple who seeks counseling is in crisis. Different kinds of couples seek counseling –from friends who want to explore their friendship, people who are dating who want to communicate better, to people who are wondering if they should take a next step in their relationship with a variety of levels of commitment – from friends or people who are romantically involved and considering deeper commitment. This is called, “pre-commitment counseling.”

People Come To Couple Counseling For Different Reasons

  • Dissatisfaction by one or both partners needs to be explored.
  • Emotions have become too hot with conflict- or cold with indifference.
  • Issues of sexuality or satisfaction need to be addressed.
  • Relationship “skills” need to be enhanced.
  • An amicable ending to the relationship needs to be found.
  • Family, parenting or financial concerns trouble the couple
  • Better communication skills and techniques need to be found in order to explore present and future relationships.
  • People are preparing to make a commitment to one another.

Many of these issues involve difficulties in communicating. As problems become more severe, communication breaks down further, leading to more problems, leading to more difficulty in communicating and on and on.

Some of these involve improving existing communication skills or simply finding ways to discuss sensitive topics.

Pre-commitment Counseling

Pre-commitment counseling helps people understand their current relationship no matter what level of commitment they have made to one another.

Many people can be understandably hesitant before entering into a new relationship commitment, such as moving in together or getting married. They might wonder if this step is too soon or even with the right person.

They wonder if they will need to learn new communication skills, techniques to keep intimacy strong, and ways of building trust.

Independent of any commitments, people who are at different stages in friendships or relationships might seek counseling to understand themselves better or to get through some difficulties they might be having with one another.

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