Counselors are not there to judge. They are there to listen, unbiased, and work with you to help you live a happier and more fulfilling life.
The idea of counseling can be scary for some people. People tend to think that counseling doesn’t help; they may not need it, or even worse, that it will end relationships. None of these are true. Though it can be difficult to find a counselor that meshes well with you, and your partner; finding one can have a monumental effect on helping a relationship flourish. Another large hang- up, is people’s concerns about judgment. Counselors are not there to judge. They are there to listen, unbiased, and work with you to help you live a happier and more fulfilling life. Knowing when you should seek counseling is important. People who seek counseling before issues arise in their relationships are better equipped to deal with these issues and are more likely to communicate more effectively with their partners, about the issue.
The five basic principles of couple’s counseling are: changing the views of the relationship, modifying dysfunctional behavior, decreasing emotional avoidance, improve communications, and promoting strength. When looking at an open relationship, there are specific things that should be addressed during the sessions. As there are so many variations of open relationships and various ways of cultivating relationships; there are counselors who specialize in open relationship counseling. Having an objective third party can help define, and redefine parameters, goals, and motives within the relationship; as well as help couples openly work through any issues that arise. There are multiple reasons people seek couple’s counseling.
The first thing that should be established, before entering into an open relationship, and what a counselor will ask about is motives. Knowing the motives of wanting to move into an open relationship, will help a counselor know if this is a consensual, healthy move, or if the couple is doing so for the wrong reasons. Common underlying reasons for wanting to enter into an open relationship include: making a relationship work when it’s not working, not addressing sexual difficulties, or feeling unable to leave a relationship. If these underlying issues are not addressed before entering into this new type of relationship, this can lead to issues further down the road; including resentment, and anger.
As with any relationship, communication is key. A counselor can help navigate this field by giving clients tools to be respectful, and giving a forum where each person can air out their issues in a judgment-free environment. Counselors can help establish a dialogue. Without communication, any relationship will fall apart.
When entering into an open relationship, setting boundaries will help each person navigate what is expected within each outside relationship. Knowing these boundaries can help each person feel secure that they are not betraying a partner’s trust, or feel as though they are breaching the contract set forth by each party. A counselor can help establish these boundaries; as well as adjust them as the relationship progresses. It will also help lessen the feelings of inadequacy, and neglect within the relationship.
Seeking counseling can be a big decision. It is not something that should be feared. It should be embraced and welcomed; as part of a relationship’s regular maintenance. Having that objective third party can be an invaluable source of information, comfort, and understanding. They can help you navigate your current relationship; as well as any possible future relationships. When you and your partner seek counseling and find one that works for you, the benefits can be astounding.