Can Online Marriage Counselling Really Work?

If you’re struggling in your relationship, it’s important that you be willing to make the effort to fight for it. When the going gets tough in a marriage, it can be tempting to walk away – but this means throwing away not only your relationship but also your plans for the future, your lifestyle and so much more. Sure, the grass might look greener on the other side but the truth is that no relationship is perfect!

In other words? A marriage is worth fighting for. And sometimes that means doing something uncomfortable like getting marriage counselling. And maybe even online marriage counselling!

The Scenario

Many of us find the prospect of marriage counselling very unappealing. Not only does this mean ‘admitting defeat’ in a sense but it also means that you’re going to have to speak very candidly about something very personal. And you might also feel unsure as to whether a third party can really do much to help your relationship.

But there are situations where marriage counselling may be exactly what you need.

Imagine that you find yourself constantly arguing, that you haven’t been happy for a long time and that attempts to speak to your partner haven’t worked. Maybe they don’t want to engage you in a conversation about your relationship, or maybe they’re just not taking what you’re saying on board.

In this situation, suggesting marriage counselling can be a fantastic move. What this does is to communicate to your partner that you’re serious in what you’re saying – that you’re not happy and that you feel something really needs to be done to fix your relationship. It shows that you’re willing to do something that you’re very uncomfortable with to accomplish this and it shows that you truly care. Your partner will know that this is a ‘last resort’ and that you’re trying to do everything you can to fix your relationship before it’s too late.

At the same time though, a marriage counsellor might also be able to bring a lot more to the table than you initially suspect. They can open the lines of communication in an environment where you can’t argue, they can level the playing field and they can suggest relationship building activities and other useful exercises that can help put your relationship on the right track.

Going Online

But the problem is that your partner might not be interested in taking this step. If they too are apprehensive about letting a stranger try and fix your relationship, then you may find that they just put it off or that they refuse to go.

This is where an online marriage counsellor can provide the perfect compromise. In this situation, you’re not forced to sit face-to-face with someone and talk about your sex life. Instead, you can receive the counselling remotely and potentially even via email! The fact that you’re both taking the step, listening to the advice and taking what they have to say seriously will still be enough to show to each other that you care and that you’re willing to work on the relationship but it won’t be half as embarrassing or as personal.

But Does it Really Work?

But the big question here is whether it can really work. Can getting counselling online possibly be as effective as seeing someone in personal? How can they make meaningful breakthroughs when they’re not even in the room?

Online marriage counselling isn’t for everyone, that’s true. And its effectiveness is always going to depend very much on your willingness to make the effort.  But actually, marriage counselling can work surprisingly well online.

In fact, therapy in general can work very well online! The main type of therapy that is recommended by moth health organizations today is cognitive behavioural therapy. This is a form of therapy that encourages you to reflect on the thought processes that lead to certain behaviors and that cause certain emotions.

For instance, if you find you have a phobia of something, then you can use cognitive behavioural therapy to reflect on where that phobia has come from and how you can get rid of it. It means being more aware of your emotions and your thoughts and understanding how the two interact and how you can create the healthiest response to a given situation. Often it boils down to a series of self-directed exercises and of course these are things that a patient can employ on their own from the comfort of their home.

The same is true for online marriage counselling. While a therapist might not be able to respond in quite the same way as they could if they were present, they can nevertheless prompt a lot of guided discussion, provide useful exercises and encourage reflection.

For instance, they might get you to ask and answer some questions together. Likewise, they might give you some activities you can do together to build your relationship, or they might give you tools you can use to have conversations without them escalating into arguments. They might also get you both to go away and assess your own thoughts and emotions and to reflect on any personal issues you might be bringing to the relationship/how you could possibly have handled certain things better.

Either way, relationship counselling can do a lot of good, even when the counsellor isn’t present. And if you add Skype sessions (which may be optional depending on the therapist you use) then you can get a lot more direct interaction that can work just as well as it would in person.

There are caveats. One is that it will be more important than ever that you are both self-motivated and that you put the time and energy into every exercise. Likewise, your therapist may be more in-tune with you both if they can be there in person (especially if your Skype connection is spotty!). But while there are some ways in which marriage counselling is better in person, it can nevertheless be surprisingly effective online and this could be a great alternative if you’re scared of the prospect of going into someone’s office and talking openly!

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