Getting a Reluctant Spouse into Couples Counselling
In many cases, it’s one spouse who wants to engage with couples counselling, and another who does not.
Very little progress can be made if a partner is hesitant or defensive in the the therapists office. After all, couples counseling is couples counseling.
Getting your partner past this stage starts with understanding why they’re there in the first place. After that, the rest comes naturally. Find out why your spouse is reluctant to engage with couples counseling, and what to do about it, with Marriage Therapists Ottawa:
States of Change: Pre-Contemplation
The ‘Stages of Change’ refers to a model used in psychology for over 20 years. Meant to describe the states of mind a person experiences as they go about a fundamental life-change; those who do not know they need to make a change in their life are in the state of ‘pre-contemplation’
Pre-contemplation is when a person is not aware that they are in need of a change. If your partner is consistently thinking and acting in ways that are harming your relationship, and isn’t aware or concerned with changing, they are in pre-contemplation.
Getting Past Pre-Contemplation
There is this myth that our brain tells us that more talking, more confrontation, more trying to make our partner change is the key to bringing about the change we’re looking for.
Nowhere is this more false than with pre-contemplators.
Often, the more intensely you try to make your partner change, the less results you see. When someone doesn’t believe they have a problem, and they’re being pressured to change, they resist harder and harder.
The key is to adjust your motivational strategy.
Consider not trying to make your partner fix the problem, but instead simply help them recognize the problem exists.
What NOT To Do
The specific strategy you ought to take to help your pre-contemplative partner recognize they have a problem that needs solving depends on the unique circumstances of your relationship. There is no one-size-fits-all approach guaranteed to do the job.
But there are some common strategies that never work that you ought to be aware of.
Relationships in need of counselling are almost always full of intense emotions. Pent up emotions and resentments are powerful, and threaten to de-rail your efforts at a moments notice.
If you start to feel powerful emotions ‘taking the wheel’ of your mind, you most certainly will fail to accomplish what it is you’re looking to do. Only with legitimate empathy and compassion can anyone be moved to the contemplative stage, so recognize your feelings when communicating and limit their control.
If feelings start to well up, it’s better to walk away than to let them take control of the conversation! Intensity only causes pre-contemplators to further entrench themselves in the belief that they don’t have to change!
More Help Getting Into Marriage Therapy
If you have a pre-contemplative spouse who is resisting engagement with couples counseling, the above advice will certainly be helpful. If you find that it is not enough, feel free to get in touch with Marriage Therapists Ottawa for more help!