Counselling Does Not Work to Strengthen Resilience

A client was struggling in her love relationship. Rather than the coupleship becoming stronger and more resilient over time, it was weakening. After suggesting the pair come to see me I received this message:

“I don’t know what to do anymore. I asked Harry to join me. He said this kind of stuff doesn’t work.”

Here is my response:

“I agree with Harry, ‘This kind of stuff doesn’t work.’   The question is, ‘Are you and Harry both willing to do The Work to make the relationship mutually rewarding?’ I certainly can’t work on others’ relationships. I’ve done a pretty good job working on my own, though. Counselling does not do the work. The counsellor provides some information of what appears to NOT be working and offers alternatives. Improvements happen when the client trusts the good will of their partner and themselves, commits to do The Work of improved problem solving, mutual-support and communication, and then does The Work.

I smile when people spend one hour in counselling, are given the information of what they are doing that is sabotaging their relationship and/or personal life, are given some healthy alternatives to practice, and then walk out the door saying, ‘That didn’t work.’ It’s like going to a lecture on losing weight, getting the information about their poor eating and exercise habits, given information on healthy life-style choices but walk away saying, ‘That stuff didn’t work. I haven’t lost any weight!’

As in dieting and exercise, where there is a will, there is a way. The bigger challenge in relationships is that, it takes two wills to make the way.’

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