There is a lot more to seeing a couples counselor than sitting on a couch and chatting with a therapist. Upon choosing the best counselor for your situation, he or she will meet with you and work to draw up a clearly defined treatment plan.
This plan may include individual, joint, or group sessions. You may even be asked to do a little homework now and then and this work is just as important as the work you do in the presence of your therapist.
In the beginning, it will seem as if your couples counselor is just having you fill out a lot of forms. This is true, but the answers to the questions on those forms will give your therapist a lot of insight into who you are and how you approach your relationship. Additionally, answering these questions will make you think long and hard about yourself and make it easier to pinpoint the issues you are having with your significant other.
Beyond the rote forms, the homework assigned during couples counseling is meant to inform you and your spouse about one another. Sometimes, they are games that reveal hidden fears or maybe a music sharing assignment that helps you understand his or her outlook on life. Whatever the task, you are sure to learn things about your lover that you may never have known before.
The use of fun, yet informative, games and conversations can go a long way to keeping you and your significant other motivated during treatment. You will soon want to play these games more often and that will serve your relationship well in the long run. The success you find will also keep you motivated in other aspects of your counseling.
The more you can learn about what makes the love of your life tick is with solid communication. Not only should you discuss the important things, you must chat about your fears, likes, dislikes, and yes, even political and religious views. Homework often instigates these types of conversations and allows you to understand your spouse on a deeper level.
What is homework, really, if not a source of practice? The math homework you did in high school wasn’t meant to have any end-game other than teaching you how to apply it when faced with a real-world situation. The same is true for homework assigned by your couples counselor. The next time you are dealing with something together, you can use what you’ve learned during your homework assignments.
In order to complete the homework you’ve been assigned, you may have to do or say things you usually avoid. For example, if your spouse says you don’t participate in his favorite activities, your therapist may assign you to do just that. You will soon be trying something new or scary, but you will learn about your loved one in the process.
Counter to the act of deterring avoidance mentioned above, homework also aids people in breaking bad habits within their marriage. The homework you do is going to teach you how you should and should not react, reply, or engage when something unpleasant occurs. Over time, these bad habits will be replaced by healthier practices.
On a personal level, completing homework that’s been assigned by your couples counselor will make you feel stronger within both yourself and your relationship. The definition of your character and that of your significant other will make you less afraid to interact in a clear and honest way.
As you progress in your treatment, the homework you are given will serve as a sort of nourishment for your relationship. These assignments will often recap or refresh skills that you have worked on previously. Even if you feel you have moved past the things required by the assignments, this refreshment is vital to continued progress.
During homework assignments, you will learn about yourself, your spouse, and how you interact. You will be forced to confront your own negative and unhealthy traits and take responsibility for your actions. Only by identifying these aspects of yourself can you truly begin changing the way you interact with your spouse.
Of course, not all couples need homework to work through their issues. However, if your therapist thinks you will benefit from the assignments, it’s a really good idea to follow through. Just be thoughtful and honest and you are sure to find your way back to the kind of relationship you wish to have again.