How to Counsel Young Couples
Sometimes love can feel more like a battlefield for young couples out there. So many problems can arise in relationships in the heat of a blossoming romance, due to conflicts and differences. Counseling young couples may call for mediation skills on your part, as you will play a major role in helping a relationship overcome difficulties.
Sit the couple in a very comfortable environment and begin with gradual questions, like what couples counselor Marty Nemko asks his clients, "What is one annoying thing that your partner does?" Let each person slowly reveal what vexes them 1. This will help them get problems that have been piling up inside them off their chests.
After they point out a problem they have with the other person, it's time to find a solution to each one. Have each of them figure out how to solve the problem. Sometimes solutions are simple such as if one doesn't pick up her laundry off the floor, she will need to resolve this by promising to begin doing so from now on.
After each person goes back-and-forth rattling problems and solutions, get each person to offer an all-around solution on the matters that were expressed. Invite the young couple to give an overall summary statement of how they can resolve all the small problems into one embracing resolution.
It is best to have both young people admit to each other how they can change themselves for the better to create a positive change in the relationship. Encourage a discussion of how each person can contribute positive actions towards a better relationship. Allow them to list how they can do things differently.
If arguments erupt as you're counseling them, which it is most likely to occur, it's time to listen and try to ask good questions that will make them grapple with their problems. Point out the behavior and make sure you don't criticize the person. If there needs to be an interruption, create a diversion or just have a short break.
Once the young couple promises to solve these problems with positive solutions, have a follow-up meeting to analyze how the couple took strides in achieving their goals. Remember to focus on the good aspects and encourage the good changes that slowly resulted from the counseling. Help them until they are capable of resolving issues on their own.