How to Tell If You Need Counselling
1. Read each of the eight statements below.
Each of you should choose one which best describes your relationship at the present time.
- It is perfect. I can’t imagine how our relationship could be better.
- It’s wonderful. Maybe it could get better, but I don’t see how at the present time.
- It’s excellent. There are some things I wish would get better, but I’m satisfied with the way it is.
- It’s very good. There are some problems which could be better, but overall I’m pretty satisfied with the way it is.
- It’s good. We have some problems, but I’m satisfied with the way things are more than half the time.
- It’s okay. We have more problems than we should but we still love each other. We need to do something to help improve our relationship so it doesn’t get worse.
- We may be in trouble. I’m seriously worried about the possibility of separation or divorce. We have to do something soon.
- There is no hope. We have severe problems and I do not think we can solve them. We should talk about separation or divorce.
2. Share with each other the statements you have each chosen
If you chose a relatively positive statement, explain some of the factors in your relationship which you believe make it a good relationship.
If you chose a mixed or more negative statement explain some of the factors which you believe are causing the problems.
Decide on a scale of 1 to 10 how serious the problems(s) are. Discuss possible solutions. Decide if you need help solving the problem(s).
The discussion will help you clarify the present state of your relationship, and may help you talk about problems if they exist.
3. Consider the following indicators
Most couples can solve everyday problems on their own, or with help from friends and family. However you may need to seek professional help if you experience serious and persistent problems.
According to Everett Worthington Jr, the author of “Hope for Troubled Marriages (InterVarsity Press 1993), any one of the following indicates that a couple should consider working with a counsellor.
- Someone in the family is being physically or emotionally abused.
- Alcohol or drug dependency is part of the problem.
- Either of you are seriously depressed or are having other emotional or personal problems.
- There are sexual problems which are placing a serious strain on your relationship.
- The problems between you have existed for a long time and seem to be getting worse.
- You have tried almost everything you know to help improve the relationship, but nothing has worked.
- Your children are frequently caught up in the middle of your problems or are suffering in other ways.
- Either of you thinks marriage counselling is needed.
- One of you has contacted a lawyer.
- One of you is having, or recently had an affair.
- Either of you feels locked in a power struggle you cannot resolve.
- Either of you are using outside activities (work, friends, other commitments) as an excuse not to spend time with each other.
- Either of you are unable to forgive the other for some past transgression.
- The tension in your relationship is increasing rapidly.
Counsellors are professionals who offer a safe place for women and men to tell their story and look at other ways they could be using their skills or gaining more skills to fix relationship problems.
It sometimes takes quite a few sessions for someone to open up and start working towards changing behaviours.