Should You Consider Free Relationship Counseling?
By: William Drake
Updated November 18, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Karen Devlin, LPC
Free Online Counseling May Be Able To Help You
While many promote the benefits of relationship counseling, some do not realize that relationship counseling benefits healthy relationships and struggling relationships. But, you have to be sure you are willing to work to make your relationship better. As any great relationship counselor will tell you, the real work of counseling occurs outside of their office, where couples apply the strategies they learned in session to their relationship regularly. If that’s the case, should you consider free relationship counseling outside of a therapist’s office?
When Free Relationship Counseling Works (and What It Is)
Free relationship counseling can mean several things: a free service offered by volunteer organizations like nonprofits or churches, volunteer organizations like nonprofits or churches, or a free trial given by an accredited, licensed counselor. Free relationship counseling is different than free relationship advice. Anybody can give advice, but only a licensed, professional therapist can offer to counsel.
However, there are free resources that can be useful if you’re looking for relationship advice. You can do some research with your partner. Those resources can include reading books, reading articles, interviewing successful couples, and practicing healthier communication strategies with your partner. It also will involve downloading and utilizing different tools such as worksheets to apply the knowledge you have learned. By holding yourself and your partner accountable, you can verify, recognize, and celebrate progress.
This kind of approach to relationship counseling works best with couples who have yet to be involved in a destructive relationship where one or both individuals are unwilling to make any necessary changes. Basically, for couples to reap the benefits of free relationship counseling, they have to resolve conflicts, and they must be attentive to and care about each other’s feelings. If things are going well for the most part, then relationship advice can be a useful tool for helping you get better at solving the minor issues that inevitably come up in any relationship.
A major reason to consider this option rather than paying for a professional is that financial stress is one of the top causes of marital dissatisfaction. Couples usually share finances, and when you’re both stressed about your current financial situation, a problem that may only grow if therapy sessions cost too much, the blame game starts. Then, couples begin to criticize each other about spending or career choices, and the cycle of unhealthy behavior continues.
It’s no secret that therapy can be expensive, and some couples may need to pursue a more affordable avenue, so if you can get some free assistance in strengthening your relationship foundation (and implement it successfully), you absolutely should.
Free Relationship Counseling Tips
Now that you have a better understanding of what free relationship counseling truly is and who it works best for, you may be interested in learning some of the practices and tools that have helped others resolve issues and strengthen their relationship. If this is you, we have compiled some amazing pieces of advice that have worked for other couples and may work for you too.
Figure Out What Aspects of Your Shared Life Are Causing Issues
There is only one major issue for some couples that seems to be recurring throughout the relationship and causing trouble. Couples with this problem can easily take care of the problem since there is only one issue. Then, some couples have too many issues to track, and when they finish feeling and acting angry over one problem, their focus switches to another one that they forgot at the moment.
To better tackle your issues on your own, you and your partner need to know exactly what those issues are and have them listed somewhere so that you can identify, acknowledge, and begin to work on them. Whether these issues are financial, emotional, or physical, take some time out of your day to collaborate and figure out where you are having issues. It’s important to isolate these problems as they can often be at the root of other issues and need to be solved first to solve smaller problems stemming from them. Once you have accomplished this, make detailed notes of those issues so that you will be able to refer to them during your DIY counseling journey.
Avoid Criticism When Talking About Problems
There is a difference between a complaint and a criticism. Simply put, complaining is letting your partner know you didn’t like something, such as, “I feel frustrated that you said you would fold the laundry, and you didn’t.” This remark is simply a healthy expression of your emotions that allows you to let your partner know how you feel about them doing or not doing a certain thing.
On the other hand, criticism is a statement attacking your partner’s personality rather than a statement that reveals your feelings. An example of a criticism that would occur in the previous statement would be, “Why are you so lazy? You never fold the laundry!” The first can be a useful tool that gives you and your partner the room needed to solve the issue, while the latter breeds disrespect, resentment, and contempt between you and your partner. It is important that you avoid criticizing your partner and that your partner avoids criticizing you. This will not foster the right environment for change and growth in the relationship.
Build Upon Positive Feelings
Humans tend to focus on the negative, which can be a major problem for the relationship with your partner. The best way to remain happy in your relationship is to break away from this habit and build more positive experiences than negative ones. If your positive to a negative feeling ratio in your relationship is about 1:1, then your relationship is not doing well at all, and at least one partner is likely to feel unhappy from this imbalance.
But how can you build upon positive feelings? Well, the best way is to simply put more emphasis on what you love about your partner and what you love doing with your partner. Make an effort to let them know as well. Let your partner know what it is you like about them. Let them know what they are doing right. Go out with them and shower them with affection.
It becomes much harder to be negative about a relationship when you’re too busy focusing on the existing love between you and your significant other. By doing this, we are not saying you should ignore issues. Instead, you should seek to resolve those issues as soon as possible by making the most of the time you have with each other.
Set A Specific Time for Honest Discussions And Arguments
Honesty and understanding can wane over time if you and your partner become overly critical of each other, which creates a negative environment in which there is no room for these things to exist. Suppose you and your partner notice that you both have been withholding things and becoming resentful; set aside time during the week for honest discussions.
During your planned meeting times, which can be however frequent and however long you want these talks to be, both parties will meet in a non-judgmental and involved capacity to identify some of their issues. Partners can identify the solutions to make sure that these issues can be taken care of. This allows for both to be heard and to understand each other’s point of view to successfully problem solve on their own.
In addition to honest listening and speaking sessions, you should also set aside specific times for arguments had throughout the week. When you postpone an argument, you may often learn that some things are true problems while other situations are simply reactionary without substance. This will teach you to be less reactive and learn how to control your anger and other stressors in daily life.
Evaluate Unhealthy Behaviors You May Be Showing Your Partner
Our individual opinions and the environment in which we were raised heavily affect how we interact with others and with our surroundings in our adult life. On the one hand, this is often a good thing as life teaches us important lessons on dealing with things in the present. On the other hand, we are not always taught the right lessons and tools, and our preconceptions can cause us to treat each other and certain situations poorly.
When you begin to react to certain things your partner does, it is important to ask yourself why it is evoking that reaction. Was there something in your childhood or your past digging up unresolved trauma and causing you to channel those feelings into your relationship? This is an important part of self-improvement. However, many childhood traumas can be too difficult to deal with by yourself. Here, paid professional help may be necessary.
Make Sure You Are Quicker To Observe Than You Are To Judge
As we stated above, humans tend to focus on the negatives, and with this bad habit, an equally swift habit of passing judgment and reacting based on those judgments. Although internally judging others is something that we do daily, you shouldn’t let these internal, knee-jerk reactions come out into real life and your relationship. Loving another requires you to learn how to act on your kindness rather than your judgment. Before you begin to say something to your partner, make sure to ask yourself, is this kind and is this necessary? If not, where are those thoughts coming from? More importantly, why are those thoughts appearing? When we take the time to observe our thoughts before we act on them, we can filter out a lot of the negative aspects and create a more useful and positive reaction to situations.
This Brings Us To The Question… Should My Partner And I Attempt To Solve Our Issues From Home?
It truly depends on where you are in your relationship. If you can relate to the couples listed in the introduction who is more than capable of handling their issues on their own and need some additional tools and guidance to do so, nothing is stopping you from attempting to solve your issues from home. However, if you are a couple with extensive issues, you may find benefit in this approach, but you may need the addition of a paid therapist.
That being said, the cost of relationship counseling should not necessarily be the thing that deters you from seeking it out. If you feel that your relationship does need help, then counseling can be a valuable investment in your future.
One Week Free Trial from ReGain
You can try one week of free relationship counseling online to determine whether online counseling is the right option for you and your partner in the future. We offer a free trial at ReGain because we are confident that professional counseling can be deeply beneficial for most couples. Every long-lasting couple hits rough patches along the way, and licensed therapists can help bridge the divide of stalled communication.
The licensed counselors will help to clear through the muck to identify the problems. You and your partner will get out what you put in, but the licensed counselor can help guide you toward the direction of a revitalized relationship as the result of your hard work. To start your free trial, click the button under the images above. You will be guided through a sign-up process, and your free trial will appear after you’ve completed the sign-up. To maximize benefits, be sure to start as soon as possible after signing up. On the other hand, if you are unsure, consider looking at the following reviews of ReGain counselors from couples experiencing different relationship issues.
“Dan is amazing at what he does. We were recovering from a potential breakup and what Dan did was focus on why we were together in the first place. Within the first couple of weeks, we’ve noticed a huge increase in morale and a stronger bond to fix our issues when they arise.”
“Karen is absolutely amazing. From the first session, my boyfriend and I immediately felt comfortable and at ease. She is constantly giving us tools to set us up for success in our relationship. We find ourselves utilizing the advice and exercises Karen has given us in our sessions almost every day. It has been life-changing for both of us. We both very much look forward to talking to her!”
Conclusion On Free Counseling
Most relationships can get “stuck in a rut.” A licensed counselor can help you and your partner to help yourselves. The process of repairing a relationship can be confusing and stressful on how to proceed. With the one-week free trial as a great way to start, you can begin your journey with the help of a knowledgeable guide.
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