Sometimes when people call to find out about couples counseling I can hear panic in their voice. I can sense a feeling of worry and fear. Something is broken and the person on the phone doesn’t know how to fix it and that’s why they are calling.
This is a terrible place to find yourself, not knowing if you can make it in your relationship, wondering if it’s broken, and daring to hope it can ever be better. All this is pressing on the individual who is making the call. It’s a helpless kind of feeling. As if all the things the person knew doesn’t amount to anything and they have to do something absolutely radically different to survive the current difficulty.
It’s a scary call to even consider. It’s an even harder call to make. And yet hundreds of people make these calls to therapists and counselors every day. They call because they are looking for help. Often they call because they fear everything they know will go away and they have one last effort to make before that happens.
What ever the reason, it’s always a good sign. People turn to others when what they know doesn’t work anymore. It’s O.K. to do this when our car breaks down, or if we need a medical check up and to get our taxes done. But when it comes to our relationships we are not taught to turn to outsiders to help get the relationships back on track. We are taught to take care of it ourselves. Maybe we are from the thinking that it’s not that bad, it could always be worse or, it will get better, eventually.
Most people feel their relationship is their business, not the business of an outsider, even a therapist. I get this. I understand this. It’s so hard to uncover all the parts that have been hidden from us, from our partner and lay them out in front of a stranger. I know. I also know it works. The process works. People get a chance, maybe for the first time in their lives to tell their entire story without someone telling them their vision is off or wrong.
That’s the beauty of counseling. It comes without judgment. Therapists are trained to help you say what will be helpful to you, understand what it is you feel and help you ask for what you need to be happy.
It’s so scary to move into this when you have relied on yourself or your partner for everything else. It’s so hard to even think that someone who doesn’t know you can actually help you make your life and relationship better.
And that’s exactly our training. That’s what therapists and counselors do. We help people feel better. It’s what I do and I love it.