“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.”
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 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.