Does couples counselling work? The pros and cons that will surprise you

Experts say that couples counselling has a success rate of around 70%. Also, the Association of Marriage and Family Therapists of the United States reveals that 3 out of 4 couples who go to counselling find that their relationship improves.

This data is confirmed by psychologist José Bustamante, secretary and member of the AES (Spanish Association of Specialists in Sexology), who indicates that around 90 % of couples who attend counselling see an improvement in their state of mind. In fact, two thirds of them admit improvements in their work and health.

Why do I show you all this data? Because there are many reasons why a couple decides to seek therapy, but most of them have doubts about its effectiveness.

Sometimes, in my consultations as a therapist, patients start their session saying: Dr. Duany, there are many arguments in my home with my partner, I am upset, but the truth is that I don’t know if this counseling will work. To which I respond: “it will work if you commit yourself to the process, whatever the outcome”.

What is couples counselling?

First of all, couples counselling is not a magic act. It is not about the therapist pulling out a magic wand and solving all your marital problems. Much of the success of counselling depends on the couple.

Marriage counselling is a type of therapy in which the counsellor or therapist provides a safe space for the couple to resolve their conflicts, improve their bond or, if necessary, bring their relationship to a successful end.

As a therapist, I offer tools and support to couples who wish to find solutions so that their relationship can thrive and remain united by respect, love, understanding and listening.

No couple is perfect, nor can they expect their marriage to be. The healthiest thing to do is always to turn to a professional when the situation becomes complicated. That’s why today I want to share with you the pros and cons of counselling. This way you will be able to decide more clearly if you are ready to make the decision to see help.

Pros of couple counselling

Many people think that going to counselling is only for venting their sorrows or trying to keep the relationship going. This is not entirely true, because counselling is also effective if you want to make the break-up as painless and conflict-free as possible. So says Anfruns Nomen, psychotherapist and specialist in couple therapy.

In this respect, numerous case studies demonstrate the advantages of couple counselling for those who are willing to commit themselves to the process of growth and healing.

Tools for resolving conflict and managing change in the relationship

Doctor in Psychology, José Antonio García, from the UNED, explains that one of the biggest difficulties that can be seen in marriage counselling is that each partner blames the other for the problems. In addition, they place the responsibility for improving the relationship on their partner.

In this respect, one of the greatest advantages of counselling is the number of tools the therapist provides to resolve conflicts. It also allows both partners to listen to each other, to empathize with each other’s emotions and to express their feelings and vulnerabilities in a respectful atmosphere.

Increased communication

Studies show that 75 % of couples find couple counselling an effective way to communicate with their partner. Most of them also report that after having a free communication, where both partners listen to each other and talk freely, they feel greater marital satisfaction.

Contributes to reaffirming and improving the couple’s commitment to each other

When a couple comes to marriage counselling, they realize that they are both responsible for the situation they are in. I am not talking about guilt, but about responsibility, which is very different.

By becoming aware of the individual responsibility that each of them has within the relationship, they are able to reaffirm their commitment and achieve a more harmonious coexistence.

Increases empathy and mutual support

After several sessions, I have noticed that couples who attend couples counselling are more open and empathetic towards each other. Remember that both you and your partner come from different families, each have their fears, insecurities and shortcomings or areas for improvement.

In some cases, family or self-esteem problems of one partner may be the source of the problem. By reviewing this in counselling, the other partner can perceive their partner’s humanity and provide support as needed.

Cons of couple counselling

As much as marriage counselling has its benefits, I must also tell you that it has some aspects that can be categorized as “cons”. Let’s see what these elements are.

  • It is necessary to attend on an ongoing basis. The couple must be committed to the process. Several sessions are required to achieve the above-mentioned benefits.
  • The couple attending counselling should do so freely. They should not go to please the other, nor should they go out of obligation.
  • There may be discharge of intense emotions, such as anger, rage, resentment.
  • Culmination of the sentimental commitment. While it is true that therapy seeks to resolve conflicts and create meeting spaces in the relationship, it is possible that after several sessions the couple may realize that the best thing for both of them is to separate.
  • The professional may cause confusion in the relationship. If the therapist who is accompanying the process does not have sufficient experience or only understands one version of the problem, it is likely that instead of helping, he or she will confuse the couple even more.

Remember that marriage counselling is not just for couples who have major conflicts or argue on a regular basis. Counselling is for all relationships that want to get to know each other better, reach agreements and find common ground that will make them grow as individuals and as a couple.

If you need to contact a qualified professional for couples counselling, you can call this number 407 618 0212. If you have any doubts about this topic, contact me, I am open to listening to you.

How Jesus used solitude in His ministry

We have learned so far that there are many benefits to taking the time to be in solitude and reconnect with ourselves, with God, and with others. Well, Jesus used solitude. Let’s learn of His example.

All great people of faith took time to practice solitude. Enoch walks with God, Abraham was called to a life of solitude, Moses spent part of his life in solitude, Jesus recognized the power of solitude and became our example.

Have you ever wondered if Jesus also spent time in solitude, looking for peace, quiet, and refreshment? Do you know if there are verses in the Bible that prove that Jesus spent time alone to reconnect with His Father, with Himself, and others?

Let us take a look into Jesus’ practices regarding the time he spent in solitude:

Jesus used solitude to prepare for ministry.

In Matthew 41-11, Jesus fasts for 40 days in the wilderness in preparation for the inauguration of His ministry. We should seek solitude to intentionally prepare ourselves to plan our short- and long-term goals in life.

Jesus used solitude to grieve when He experienced lost.

In Matthew 14:13, Jesus receives the bad news of John the Baptist’s execution and withdrew himself to grieve. We should seek solitude to recover from inevitable losses and disappointment.

Jesus used solitude to hear from God.

In Matthew 17:1-9, Jesus seeks the silence of a lonely mountain and God speaks through the transfiguration. We should seek solitude in order to listen to God’s Spirit.

Jesus used solitude before a major challenge. In Matthew 26:36-40, Jesus wants to pray alone in the garden before He faces the cross. We should seek solitude, so we can find our quiet center and pray as a looming challenge approaches.

Jesus used solitude for renewal.

In Luke 5:16, we learn that Jesus often withdrew himself to lonely places to pray. He does this after draining seasons of His life. We should seek solitude for rest, rejuvenation, and renewal.

Could you imagine if this year, as we are still isolated because of the pandemic, we integrate solitude as a spiritual discipline? Could you imagine the transformation that we would experience? What will happen in our families if we begin to teach them how to practice solitude?

Solitude is the secret to reconnecting

I believe that solitude should be one of our most important resolutions this year because solitude is the secret to reconnecting with God, ourselves, and others. Solitude is the secret to reconnecting:

  • With God and hearing His voice.
  • With our heart and reflecting upon our spiritual condition.
  • And understanding our identity.
  • With ourselves and being cleansed of a worldly mindset.
  • And realigning our priorities and goals.
  • And having compassion toward others.

Could you imagine if the Department of Education added developing the discipline of solitude to its curriculum? We would have less identity issues with our students and young people, less self-esteem issues, and less suicides and depression because solitude is the secret to reconnecting with God, with themselves, and others.

The call of the Florida administration for 2021 is to reconnect. But this is the problem. We cannot reconnect with others unless we reconnect with God and with ourselves first. The reconnection we want begins with solitude. Solitude is the answer to reconnecting with others. It is time to talk about solitude as a lost discipline and bring a revival to our community.

This is what I want you to do this week

People are perishing in loneliness. It is time to transform loneliness into solitude and reconnect with God, with ourselves, and others.

Find a place

Think of a quiet, safe place where you can escape from the distraction and chaos of your life. A sacred space set apart to be with God where other voices cannot reach you, technology cannot distract, and intrusive sounds cannot interrupt.

Set a time

Make a sacred appointment. Put it on the calendar. Other responsibilities will easily push this appointment aside. Resist the call to attend to “higher priority” or “urgent” tasks.

Listen intentionally

At first, we may feel lonely, awkward, fearful, or out of control. If this practice is new to you, start small. Ten minutes is a good place to start. Experiment with what works for your everyday reality.

Solitude is the secret to reconnecting with God, yourself, and others. God bless you.

10 Myths and Stigmas About Mental Health

Many stigmas revolve around the issue of mental health and those who suffer from mental health disorders. As a society, we tend to ignore and even reject what is a difficult topic for us to face. Mental illnesses are one of those topics. How much do we know about mental health? Do we know people who suffer from loneliness or abandonment due to a mental condition?

In addition to genetics, the day-to-day stress that our society currently imposes has become a trigger for imbalances on a psychological level. It has allowed the perfect substrate to develop for mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, chronic stress, agoraphobia, and others to manifest.

Our society and mental health

The issue of mental health and mental illnesses is so misunderstood on a social levmembersel that a person who suffers from them is stigmatized. But to understand this phenomenon, let’s first look at what social stigma means in the psychological sphere.

Regarding mental illnesses, stigma is the label applied to the individual who suffers from any of them, which generates negative reactions from the human being, as they can lose self-confidence, faith in their recovery, and the ability to lead a normal life. This is caused by being constantly identified as “schizophrenic,” “autistic,” or “depressive,” among other labels according to their illness, leading to constant insecurity in the human being’s personality, and creating a feeling of disability.

Mental health and stigmas

Due to the stigmas that surround the person whose mental health has been affected, that person suffers from social rejection involving their work, church, and family life.

We know stories about people whose family members still do not know what their diagnosis implies, and who do not even show interest in knowing it or in how they can help their family members feel better or face the illness.

As we said earlier, there is the misconception that a person who has a mental illness should be referred to a mental asylum or a psychiatric clinic, when, in fact, there are treatments that balance brain chemicals that affect mental health. There are even supportive therapies, group therapies, and other tools to achieve this end.

10 myths about mental health

Social stigma labels do not help the patient feel better. Of course, having the diagnosis gives the patient a feeling of “finally” knowing what he/she is suffering from, and being able to name the set of symptoms they are suffering from. But if said the diagnosis is not treated, the chances of that person suffering from ridicule or misunderstanding increase due to social stigmas.

  1. Mental illnesses are not common

More and more people are being diagnosed with a mental illness, and modern life involves high levels of stress and complexity that did not exist in the past. One in five people will manifest a mental illness at some point in their life.

  1. If the person works harder, the symptoms can disappear

Not all mental illnesses have the same treatment. It all depends on the causes, symptoms, and general condition of the person. But if the person tries harder, the symptoms will not disappear. Mental illnesses are real illnesses, as we said in earlier posts, the brain is an organ, and as such, it also becomes ill.

  1. Anyone with a mental illness needs treatment

Treatment depends on the type of illness that affects the individual’s mental health. Some will need medication, others, group therapy, while therapies of another kind will help others. Generalizations in these cases do not apply.

  1. There is nothing we can do to help someone with mental illness

There is a lot we can do for people with mental illnesses. Our support and understanding are of great value to the treatment and improvement of people whose mental health has been affected. Not judging, listening intently, not treating the person differently, and asking questions before giving any opinions can make a difference in the patient’s life.

  1. People who suffer from a mental illness are not able to work

Mental illnesses, when treated correctly, do not constitute an impediment to carrying out work activities. Many people with depression, anxiety, and even agoraphobia can have normal lives when they are treated successfully. There are cases in which the illness is very serious, and the person must stop working. But they are extreme cases of mental health impairment.

  1. Children suffering from mental illnesses are “damaged” for life

When a child has a mental illness, he/she can be treated with the techniques the case requires. Besides, that child can have his/her mental health restored. The earlier in the child’s life the disease is treated, the more the child can enjoy a full and happy life.

  1. Mental illnesses are the result of poor parenting

There are genetic factors that affect a person’s mental health. The way parents raise a child cannot be blamed entirely for the symptoms of mental illnesses. In this case, parenting plays an important role in exacerbating symptoms. Or on the contrary, being a base of support and understanding for the improvement of the child.

  1. Having a mental illness is a sign of weakness

There is no such thing as “mental strength” in the context of mental illnesses. A person does not develop a mental illness because he/she is “weak”. Mental “strength” is not the same as mental “health”. Many people affected by mental health are people who show strengths and great aptitudes in other areas of mental performance.

  1. People with mental illnesses are violent

We believe that mental illnesses are related to shootings or terrorist acts. These acts that we see on the news occur more and more frequently. But there are mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and autism, among others, in which there are no symptoms of aggressiveness or violence at all. Statistics show that only 7.5 percent of crimes are associated with people with mental illnesses.

     10. Therapy is for adults only

Contrary to common belief, therapy is also useful for children with mental health problems. Therapies for children have an age-appropriate approach. They provide children with tools to cope with and manage their diagnoses. As well as, they provide emotional tools for parents and family members, giving them a safe and supportive environment for their development as individuals.

As Christians, we must be a source of support and understanding for people suffering from mental illnesses. Stigmas should not be part of our vocabulary or our actions. Specialty, when we address or interact with people who have mental illnesses.

Do you know anyone who has a mental illness? Do you have a mental illness diagnosis? If so, have you gotten the much-needed support from your family, church, or friends? Which other ways do you recommend giving support to someone who has a mental illness? Leave us your comment, so we can make our contribution to making this topic better known in our society. And so we can be a source of support for people who need it.