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When You Should Seek Couples Counselling

When You Should Seek Couples Counselling

When we fall in love the last thing on our minds is future pain. The beginning of love is nothing but joy and, quite thick, rose tinted glasses. Everything about our partner is wonderful, nothing seems annoying, it is all just “practically perfect, in every way”, as Mary Poppins would say.

But, unfortunately, everything changes with time, including the way we view people. The one we love is not immune to this, sadly. Those tiny habits you liked about your partner as their “cute quirk” in the past might begin to grate on you in the present. Things you used to agree on can now lead to arguments, as you, or your partner, might have changed views on the subject. You may feel you have grown while your partner has stayed the same and is becoming boring. Or the reverse; your partner has changed so much you barely recognise him or her. Maybe you feel as if you’ve grown apart. All this could lead to not feeling happy or satisfied in your relationship anymore.

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Obviously this could be resolved simply by talking to one another, but often this is where the problem begins: you or your partner may be scared of admitting to problems. Or you just don’t know how to start the conversation. You might have tried to bring up the problem, but things came out wrong or were misunderstood, leading to an argument and continuous strain in the relationship. Then there are people who are just letting problems and stress build between one another, until inevitably they grow apart to such a degree that separation seems to be the only option. Or maybe you are arguing about hundreds of little things instead of discussing the one thing that matters, this too often leads to the mutual decision of ending the relationship.

Separation might seem like a convenient option when troubles have been building for a long time. But what if, deep down inside, you still love your partner and you want to make it work but just don’t know how? There must be some way to avoid losing your love, right? Yes indeed; there are things that can be done, but you will need to be open to accepting outside help from a stranger. Not just any stranger, obviously, but someone, trained in dealing with problems like yours. This person, a counsellor, could help you talk about your problems in a new and fresh environment.

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Relationship Counselling, also known as Couples Counselling or Marriage Guidance, is one of the more well known forms of counselling. This mainly because TV shows often use it as some sort of jokey plot devise. Using couples counselling like this has sadly led to many people being wary of taking this step, as they fear it will be how they saw it portrayed on their favourite funny TV show. This is a shame, as these couples are missing out on valuable help.

Contrary to the TV shows: you will NOT be told what to do, or receive some hippy-dippy therapy. Instead you will finally sit down with your partner and reflect on the past and present, while looking towards the future. Couples Counselling it the best way of getting couples to open up to each other, listen and to help them understand where the true problems lay. The counsellor is there to guide, to raise awareness to issues that get ignored in the heat of the moment and to keep the conversation going. Counsellors do not take decisions for you, they do not take sides, they are there for the both of you as it is the relationship that is the priority, not the individual.

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The biggest fear of talking to a partner can be that of opening up about your deepest thoughts and feelings.
Understandable: you live with a person every day and they already know so much, what more do you want or need to share? Often your loved one doesn’t know as much as you think, and things simply hover in the air unsaid, causing friction and unnecessary misunderstandings. Gentle guidance from a trained counsellor can help you to speak words you have been afraid to say. Letting go of so much anxiety and fear in front of a partner can give quite the boost to a relationship, so a deeper understanding is build.

So let’s return to our question: When should you seek Couples Counselling?

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Is there a right time to seek help? You might wonder. The right time to seek help is when it feels right to you. If you feel you need help, then you need help. Don’t worry if a problem may be “too little”. A small problem is never small if it stands in the way of your happiness.. You might also worry whether or not a problem is not really a “couples problem”. But in fact: anything that stands between two partners IS a couples problem.

Of course taking Couples Counselling does not guarantee that the two of you will actually stay together. But even if you don’t it will always be beneficial: The conversations will help the both of you realise where you went wrong and help make the break up easier. You will end your relationship with everything out in the open: no questions, no lingering “what ifs” or loose ends. You will find it easier to separate on good terms and stay friendly. This will also benefit children, if they are in the picture.

So, no matter how you look at it: there is always a benefit to taking Couples Counselling. You will end up feeling stronger as a couple, as a person or both. Don’t wait until a “small” problem becomes a big one. You are in this relationship right now and deserve to spend time together in love, not sadness.

Featured photo credit: uiowa.edu via counseling.studentlife.uiowa.edu

More by this author

Dannii Cohen

PsyD in Psychology, professional counsellor, life coach and self-help expert

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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