Common Misconceptions about Relationship Counselling – Part 2

Welcome back to our series on common misconceptions about relationship counselling. My name is Danny and I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor with a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. You can find my first post here which explores a few things can prevent people getting the help they need in their relationships. Let’s dive in, shall we!

Misconception 5: The therapist will take my partner(s)’ side.

Everyone wants to feel understood in counselling, and this concern is very normal. You may be especially nervous that if the therapist is the same gender as your partner(s), the therapist will be more on their side. However, in relationship counselling, the whole relationship is what we work on together. While the therapist may spend a bit more time with one partner in any given session, they will work hard to make sure the process is balanced and everyone is heard.

Misconception 6: The therapist will take my side once they see how bad my partner(s) are.

It is not uncommon for one partner to feel exhausted at their attempts to stop problematic behaviours in their partner(s) and view counselling as a chance to have a professional on their side. While one person may contribute more to relationship problems, it always takes two (or more) to tango. The therapist will work to understand the contributions everyone makes to negative relationship patterns. Counselling can be hard work, and it takes courage to own the ways you also contribute to issues.

Misconception 7: The therapist will highlight my flaws*.

Relationship counselling at its core is about understanding how each partner contributes to negative patterns in the relationship. A good therapist will work to uncover the reasons behind problematic behaviours (e.g. fear of abandonment, feeling inadequate, etc.) of all partners to bring more awareness to the situation. There’s almost always an understandable reason behind unhelpful behaviour, and once we figure that out, we can work together to meet that need more constructively.

Misconception 8: Relationship counselling only works for straight couples.

While much of relationship counselling has been developed for mixed-gender, monogamous couples, there has been a lot of recent development in providing supportive, affirming counselling for all relationship types. Counselling support can especially help non-heterosexual, non-monogamous relationships work through the ways society has stigmatized those outside the norm. It can be important to have a therapist who understands your particular relationship structure, and most therapists offer a free consultation to answer any questions you may have.

I hope this series has helped ease some worries about starting relationship counselling. It’s a big step to take, and if you have any further questions or concerns, we’d be happy to chat with you!

*Some of these misconceptions are inspired by https://taylorcounselinggroup.com/blog/misconceptions-of-marriage-counseling/

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