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Top Five Reasons Bay Area Couples Should Consider Counseling— Even When There Isn’t a Conflict

What do you think when you hear the word “therapy”? For many, it stirs thoughts of laying on a stiff lounging couch or chaise, relaying their deepest fears and vulnerabilities to a prudish-looking person with glasses who dutifully takes notes on a clipboard. Others think of mediating conflict, finally settling arguments with an objective third party. And still more think to the old days of pre-marital counseling with the local clergymen or having a counselor inform one party just why they were completely wrong.
What if I told you that these people all had a surprisingly limited grasp of counseling? Especially couples counseling! Mental health sciences have come a long way, and therapists now have a slew of useful advice and counseling methods to work with individuals, couples, and families for a wide variety of reasons. Let’s take a closer look at why Bay Area couples should consider seeing a counselor, even if they aren’t currently arguing.

#1 Couples Counseling is For All Couples

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been dating long term, married for decades, or preparing to get married—- couples counseling in the Bay Area is for all couples (if you’re polyamorous, you can find couples counselors or family counselors who are willing to work with polycules). Counseling isn’t just about conflict resolution in marriages. Counselors will work with you to determine your relationship goals, whether it’s forming stronger communication bonds or looking for a third party to help mediate differences in life experience. Your counselor will likely offer a combination of methods to help you grow closer together.

#2 It’s a Sign of Commitment and Preparation

If you and your partner are willing to see a counselor together, that means you want to commit your best selves to each other and learn the best ways to navigate life together. Working on the bond in your relationship is never a bad thing, regardless of whether you are married— or plan to be. Counseling can help you come together on some of the heavy relationship discussions, such as parenting styles, love languages, or financial discussions. They can help you learn to understand how each other communicates and recognize when wires are getting crossed. And they can help you communicate when you aren’t sure how to articulate what’s bothering you.

#3 Mental Health Matters

Slowly but surely, the stigmas surrounding therapy are fading away as more people understand the importance of mental health and how it affects our daily lives. When you are in a serious relationship, it becomes a major focus in your life. However, that means that it can also become just as stressful as it is enjoyable. By working with a counselor to process your relationship and grow together, you can learn to face life’s many challenges together and how to healthily support one another through thick and thin.

#4 Couples Counseling Can Improve Your Self-Awareness

Couples therapy isn’t just about growing together— it’s also about your individual growth. Therapy has a strong focus on deeper understanding, both of your partner and yourself. You learn to evaluate your wants and needs and explore reasons why something isn’t fulfilling. Some people learn more about setting boundaries that they can translate to other areas of their life, like family and work. Many conflict resolution methods and coping skills can similarly be used in other areas of life to improve your overall emotional well-being.

#5 Counseling Can Help Restore Trust

Sometimes, our partners will do something that destroys our trust in them. Perhaps they bush a boundary or underestimate the severity of a phobia. Maybe their coworker is being too flirty for your liking, and your partner isn’t having a lot of luck shutting it down. For some couples, someone cheated, but you aren’t ready to leave the relationship. Whatever the reason, you’re struggling to trust your partner. You need a sign that they are committed to you and, if applicable, willing to learn and grow from what they did. A therapist can help you get down to the bottom of what happened and rebuild. While not for everyone, some couples that have dealt with adultery were able to grow closer as a result; others have ultimately grown to the conclusion that the relationship isn’t healthy.

A therapist isn’t there to keep you together or drive you apart. They are a non-biased party with a tool of mental wellness techniques and resources to help you discover what is best for you and your partner(s). They can help your partner learn to set boundaries with the coworker and help you understand how to support your partner when they are being harassed. They can help teach the importance of boundaries and bring you and your partner to a better understanding of each other and the depth of the hurt caused. Where you and your partner go from there is up to how you journey together— or apart.