What is PREVENTATIVE COUNSELING?
Many people still have the idea that couples counseling is for couples on the brink of separation, that it is a last resort that only requires a half-hearted effort with little to show for it.
I am thrilled to announce that, through my experience working as a modern-day relationship therapist, couples are coming into therapy with more openness and hope for their process… however, that may be. They’re not on the brink of a breakup, but they ask, “How can we avoid separation?” or, “We are quite happy… How do we remain happy?”
Due to these couples, I approached this concept with “preventative counselling.” This is to prevent the [seemingly] inescapable doom that comes from breaking up or divorce only a few short years after they committed themselves to a once fulfilling and happy relationship.
Why does divorce or separation seem to be a constant option in our minds? That’s another topic, and it would take more time to explore. I believe we live in a culture that is afraid of vulnerability. We struggle to let our guards go and truly be seen by others. We mask it. It happens when we upload [good] pictures on dating sites and social media; it occurs when we “get to know someone” during our first date. Why? This seems to be so simple! STOP BEING AFRAID TO BE YOU.
I’ll admit it. This was also a problem for me. I was afraid to be vulnerable, particularly with men. I was scared to ask for what I wanted, and, to be honest; I felt lonely even though I had friends all around me and plans every night. Nobody really understood me.
I was tired of living in a fog, where I only showed 45% of myself to others (especially since 35% was intoxicated or reacting uncontrollably when I felt emotions that I wasn’t ready to deal with). Although I did have “fun” at times, looking back, I understand why I felt so isolated. I didn’t realize that it was all about me. How could I expect other people to care about me and get to know me if I wouldn’t let them in?
Many of my clients come to me with similar stories that isolate them, even in their long-term relationships.
We expect the other person to fulfill us, to understand us… We hope that one day when we wake up and feel completely fearless about sharing everything with our partner, it will happen. We expect our partner to be able to complete us, to understand us… and we hope that one day we’ll feel free to share everything with them. But when this day never comes as expected, we begin to push away our partner in fear. There must be someone out there who can make me happy and understand me …” This may be true… but will they also be vulnerable?
So… I get it. We are human; we live in a privileged but unattentive society, and we can “strive” in many ways without admitting our failures, insecurities, and faults to anyone… even ourselves. “Fake It ’til You Make It !”….. Right? Maybe in your career, this mantra has helped you achieve success. But in your relationship? It’s not so good.
I believe that preventative counseling is one of the best ways to help people overcome the isolation and misunderstandings they have experienced at some point in their lives. I help couples to gain the tools they need to create a foundation that is more authentic and meaningful. This prevents the “easy” solution of ending a relationship and repeating the cycle.