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17 things you should never say during couples counseling


No matter how long you've been with your partner, it's never too late to improve your relationship - and that's where couples counseling comes in. Counseling can help bridge the communication gap, rekindle the spark, and bring you closer together. While counseling can be incredibly helpful, there are also some things you should avoid saying if you want to make the most of the session.


17 things you should never say during couple therapy

When you and your partner come to couples counseling, it is important to keep your goal of resolving conflict in mind. This means that there are certain things that you should avoid saying during your therapy sessions. If you're not careful, these comments could cause more problems than they solve.


Here are 17 things to avoid saying during couples counseling that are completely invalidating:

  1. "You're always/never..." -- Making absolutes like this will only serve to escalate the conflict. Instead, try to focus on specific instances where you felt hurt or misunderstood.

  2. "It's not my fault" -- This statement is likely to make your partner feel defensive and will not help to resolve the conflict. Try to take responsibility for your own actions and express how they have affected your partner.

  3. "I don't see why you're so upset" -- This statement invalidates your partner's feelings and is not likely to help resolve the conflict. Try to empathize with your partner and understand their perspective.

  4. "This is all your fault" -- Like the previous statement, this one is also likely to make your partner feel defensive and will not help resolve the conflict. Again, take responsibility for your own actions and express how your partners actions have caused hurt.

  5. "You're overreacting." -- Not only is this statement invalidating, but it's also likely to make your partner feel defensive. Instead of telling your partner that they're overreacting, try to understand why they are feeling the way they are.

  6. "Calm down." -- This statement is condescending and is not likely to help resolve the conflict. Instead of telling your partner to calm down, empathize with their feelings, and validate their experience.

  7. "You're being irrational." -- This statement is invalidating and will not help resolve the conflict. Instead of telling your partner that they're being irrational, try to understand their perspective and where they're coming from.

  8. "What's wrong with you?" -- This statement is not only invalidating, but it's also likely to make your partner feel defensive. Instead of asking your partner what's wrong with them, try to express how their actions have made you feel.

  9. "I don't know why you're so sensitive." -- This statement is invalidating and will not help resolve the conflict. Instead of telling your partner that they're sensitive, try to understand why they might be feeling extra sensitive in this situation.

  10. "I don't know what you want from me." -- This statement is likely to make your partner feel frustrated and will not help resolve the conflict. Instead of telling your partner that you don't know what they want, try to ask them what they need from you in this situation.

  11. "I give up." -- This statement is likely to make your partner feel abandoned and will not help resolve the conflict. Try a different response, and instead of telling your partner that you give up, express your commitment to finding a resolution.

  12. "This is hopeless." -- This statement is likely to make your partner feel despair and may make them feel like seeking resolution is a waste of time. Instead of telling your partner that you think the situation is hopeless, try to express your hope for a resolution.

  13. "If you really loved me, you would ..." -- This statement is likely to make your partner feel guilty and will not help resolve the conflict. Instead of telling your partner that they should do something because they love you, try to express how their actions make you feel.

  14. "You're just like your father/mother." -- This statement is likely to make your partner feel defensive and will not help resolve the conflict. Instead of telling your partner that they're just like their father or mother, try to express how you feel in the situation.

  15. "We never spend time together anymore." -- This statement is likely to make your partner feel guilty due to circumstances that may or may not be out of their control. Instead of telling your partner that you feel like you never spend time together and try to understand things from their perspective.

  16. "I'm done with this relationship." -- This statement is likely to make your partner feel hopeless and will not help resolve the conflict. Instead of telling your partner that you're done with the relationship, try to express your commitment to finding a resolution.

  17. "Fine. Do whatever you want." -- This statement is likely to make your partner feel unimportant. Instead, try to express how their actions make you feel.


What to say instead of those phrases

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When you're in couples therapy, it's important to be mindful of the words you use. There are certain phrases that can come off as insensitive or even hurtful, so it's best to avoid them altogether. Instead of using phrases that shift blame, try to be understanding and supportive and accept responsibility for your behavior.


Listen to what your partner is saying and validate their feelings. Use phrases like, "I see how that could be upsetting" or "It makes sense that you feel that way." By showing empathy and being respectful, you can help create a productive and positive counseling experience for both of you.


Here are some other phrases that can validating and open up effective communication:

  1. I hear you.

  2. Let's talk more about...

  3. What's going on?

  4. How does that make you feel? or How do you feel about that?

  5. Can we work through this together?

  6. I'd like to understand more about why you feel that way.

  7. I'm sorry I...

  8. I don't mean to...

  9. That must have been hard for you.

  10. I wish there was something else we could do.


How to be honest about your feelings during couples therapy sessions

When you're in a relationship, it's important to be honest about your feelings. But sometimes, when things get tough, it's easy to hold back and avoid talking about what's really going on. If you're in couples therapy, it's important to be open and honest with your counselor about how you're feeling. Otherwise, the counseling won't be as effective.


Here are some things to keep in mind when you're sharing during couples counseling:

  • Be clear about what you're feeling. If you're feeling frustrated, sad, or angry, say so. Don't try to downplay your feelings or act like everything is okay when it's not.

  • Talk about why you're feeling that way. If there's something specific that's bothering you, share that with your marriage counselor or couples therapist. They can help you address the issue and find a resolution.

  • Be open to hearing your partner's perspective. It's important to listen to what they have to say and try to see things from their perspective. Even if you don't agree with them, understanding their side will help improve communication between the two of you.

  • Don't try to blame your partner for everything.

How to make the most of couples therapy

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When it comes to couples counseling, remember you're in a safe space. There are, however, some ways to get the most from each of your counseling sessions. First and foremost, be respectful of your partner and their feelings. Secondly, avoid any sort of blame. Make sure to be honest with your partner and yourself about what you're feeling and why you're attending couples counseling. If you can keep these things in mind, you'll be on the right track to making the most out of your couples counseling sessions!


Conclusion

If you're considering couples counseling, be mindful of the goal of therapy. While it's important to be honest with your partner during therapy, your words can help (or hurt) the situation. Some statements will only serve to further damage your relationship and make it harder to work through your issues. If you find yourself getting angry or defensive during counseling, try to take a step back and remember what your goals are for the session. Couples counseling can be a helpful way to improve your relationship, but only if you're willing to put in the work and communicate effectively. To learn more, we encourage you to reach out to us at Evolve Therapy to learn more about how we can help.

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