By Shelley Leutschaft

Let’s face it, adulting and relationships can be some of the most labor-intensive, emotionally compelling, and difficult ‘work’ we engage in with others. Our interpersonal coupled relationships are no exception.

The decision to participate in couples counseling requires courage. It isn’t easy to acknowledge things could be better, and the unfamiliarity of counseling can cause you to hesitate with moving forward. Apprehension or frustration can be created when you begin the process of coordinating everything necessary–from navigating insurance and the financial aspects of participating in counseling, juggling individual and family schedules, to finding a provider, can seem too much at times. Even so, you may hesitate, wondering if what you are experiencing is really that big of a deal or worse yet, can counseling even help. Motivation to act can be impacted by many things and many couples become stalled in the processes that occur before the actual counseling takes place.

Why do people attend couples counseling? Counseling is sought to address a variety of concerns, to include and not limited to: Breakdowns in communication; trust issues secondary to deception, lying, or infidelity; problems within the emotional and/or physical relationship; developing a deeper understanding, connection, and intimacy; overcoming lifechanging event(s); discovering and processing unidentified issues or targeted/specific concerns; and navigating life transition events–just to name a few.

Where do I begin? Develop an action plan that includes days and times you are both available and, if necessary, plan for childcare or coverage for other family obligations. Check with your insurance provider to determine if couples counseling is covered and what your portion of the expense will be. If the sessions will occur with a counselor out of your insurance provider network or as private pay, ask if a sliding fee scale is available to reduce your out of pocket expense–most providers offer sliding fee scale so be sure to ask! Lastly, locate a provider you both agree on and ask to participate in a free consultation to ensure they might be a good fit for you.