Pre-crisis marriage counselling has been in discussion in the media recently with many celebrities raving over the positive effects. Gwyneth Paltrow and her new husband have recently discussed their time with pre-crisis therapy, after the breakdown of her last marriage whilst attending marriage counselling. Here we examine pre-crisis therapy, so that you can consider if it is right for you. First we will discuss what relationship therapy actually is.
What is relationship therapy?
Relationship therapy (sometimes referred to as marriage counselling) is a service that is designed to help couples who are struggling with various issues in their relationship. At its core, marriage counselling is about creating a safe and supportive space where couples can come together to address their concerns, improve their communication, and work towards a stronger, healthier, and happier partnership.
As couples therapists, our goal is to help couples understand and empathise with each other’s perspectives, while also helping them to develop the tools and skills they need to overcome challenges and build a more fulfilling relationship. This often involves exploring issues such as trust, intimacy, communication, and conflict resolution, as well as helping couples to identify their unique strengths and weaknesses as a team.
While the process of marriage counselling can be difficult and emotionally challenging at times, it is ultimately a transformative and healing experience that can bring couples closer together and help them to deepen their love and connection. Whether you are struggling with infidelity, communication breakdowns, or any other issue in your relationship, marriage counselling can provide a safe and supportive environment where you can work through your challenges and build a stronger and more fulfilling partnership.
Unlike typical therapy which is set up to solve a problem that has arisen, pre-crisis relationship therapy is slightly different. During most marriage counselling, couples will often already be experiencing issues in their relationship and the relationship is often close to breaking-down if the couple does not take action.
In surveying over a thousand visitors to our website, we have found that when asked “Are you able to speak openly to your partner without fear of a negative reaction?” over 35% of people responded no. Pre-crisis therapy can help solve communication issues before it gets to this point and prevents the outcome of individuals feeling fear and rejection in their relationship.
“This is our last shot to save our relationship”, many couples will report at the outset.
In pre-crisis relationship therapy, also known as preventive or proactive relationship therapy, the therapy aims to help couples address potential issues before they become major problems. The goal of this type of counselling is to provide couples with the tools and skills they need to navigate FUTURE challenging situations, resolve conflicts, and build a stronger and more resilient relationship.
In pre-crisis relationship therapy, couples work with a therapist to identify potential areas of conflict or concern in their relationship and develop strategies to address these issues in a proactive and constructive way. Similarly to standard therapy, this may involve learning effective communication skills, setting healthy boundaries, improving intimacy and connection, and developing problem-solving techniques. Depending on the area of specialism, pre-crisis counselling for individuals or couples can be carried out by generalist or more specific therapists. At Aligned with Love we pride ourselves on our specialised therapy techniques in the area of relationships where we’ve worked with thousands of individuals and couples through our work and events.
A stitch in time saves nine?
By addressing potential issues early on, couples can prevent small problems from escalating into larger crises. Pre-crisis counselling can also help couples build a stronger foundation of trust, respect, and love, which can serve as a buffer during times of stress or hardship.
The benefits of pre-crisis counselling
There are many benefits to pre-crisis counselling for couples who want to strengthen their relationship and prevent potential problems from arising. Here are some of the key benefits:
Pre-crisis counselling can help couples learn effective communication skills and build a deeper understanding of each other’s needs, feelings, and perspectives. This can help couples prevent misunderstandings and conflicts from arising and strengthen their overall connection.
Pre-crisis counselling can help couples explore and deepen their emotional and physical intimacy. This may involve developing new ways to connect with each other, improving sexual intimacy, and fostering greater emotional closeness.
Better conflict resolution
Pre-crisis counselling can help couples learn constructive ways to resolve conflicts and disagreements. This can help prevent small issues from escalating into major problems and reduce the likelihood of future crises.
Strengthened relationship foundation
Pre-crisis counselling can help couples build a strong foundation of trust, respect, and love that can serve as a buffer during times of stress or hardship. This can help prevent future problems from arising and provide a stable and supportive environment for the relationship to grow and thrive.
Prevention of crises
By addressing potential issues early on, pre-crisis counselling can help couples prevent crises from occurring in the first place. This can save couples from experiencing the emotional and financial costs of a major relationship crisis and help them build a stronger and more resilient relationship over time.
Does pre-crisis counselling have any downsides?
Like any therapy service, the positives and negatives depend on what works for each individual and how involved individuals are willing to be in engaging and improving their relationship. Possible negative effects of pre-crisis therapy can include.
False sense of security
While pre-crisis counselling can help couples build a strong foundation and prevent potential problems from arising, it is not a guarantee that the relationship will never experience a crisis. Couples should still be aware that challenges may arise and be prepared to address them as needed.
Also, as the challenges haven’t yet appeared, we may be less focussed or leveraged into the process than if we feel that our relationship is in real trouble.
Resistance to counselling
Some individuals may be resistant to pre-crisis counselling, either because they do not see the need for it or because they feel uncomfortable discussing their relationship with a third party.
Limited effectiveness for some issues
Pre-crisis counselling may be less effective for certain types of issues, such as severe mental health problems or substance abuse, which may require more specialised forms of treatment.
Focus on results… not just time, time, time!
Whether your goal in improving your relationship is to overcome a specific issue, it’s important to have a clear intention or goal through the work. One of the key differences in the way we work compared to most therapists is that we don’t offer individual sessions as we find the commitment and thus results are compromised. If after the first session we think it’s a good fit, it works as a six month commitment meaning that we’ve got time to really embed the new ideas and habits that are going to be supportive of an effective relationship.
If you’ve got questions just reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to see how we can support!
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