The Role Goals Play in Relationship Counseling

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Establishing goals are part and parcel when receiving relationship counseling. If you were to visit the Relationships & More office in Westchester County, NY, your therapist would probably spend a portion of the first session helping you figure out what your goals are. There is purpose in that.

Relationships & More therapists explain that goals are the foundation of any kind of therapy – be it relationship counseling, individual counseling, marriage counseling, etc. Similarly, we establish goals in other areas of life. Most of us have financial goals. We have career goals. Setting goals for relationship therapy is no different.

Something to Work Toward

Establishing goals in a counseling setting gives participants something to work toward. And by ‘participants’, we mean both counselors and their clients. Everyone involved in the sessions should be working together to achieve the same end. Goals provide that end.

In some cases, people involved in relationship counseling only have a single goal they want to achieve. Other times, they come to counseling with multiple goals in mind. Still other times, they start with a single goal only to discover others along the way. Each situation is different. It is up to the counselor and client to decide together what the goals should be.

A Goal Per Session

Counselors and therapists all have their own approaches. Therefore, they also approach goals differently. One client may work with a counselor to achieve a single, broad-based goal over five or six sessions. Another client may agree with a counselor’s recommendation to split up that major goal into five or six smaller ones, then work on one goal per session.

The advantage of this particular strategy is being able to work on smaller things that are easier to accomplish. Otherwise, it is easy to be overwhelmed by a single, larger goal. Splitting a larger goal into five or six smaller goals does not mean the larger one is never accomplished. It actually is. By achieving the smaller goals, you eventually achieve the large one.

Goals as Measuring Sticks

There is a secondary purpose for establishing goals in relationship counseling: to measure progress. Nothing is more frustrating to someone in counseling than the feeling that no progress is being made. That is always a possibility when counseling occurs with no goals in sight.

Setting a goal gives you something to work for. As you put in the time and effort, you should be able to see yourself getting closer to that goal. That’s how you measure your progress. As long as you are getting closer, you are moving forward. If you are not getting any closer, no progress is being made. Then it’s time to rethink what you’re doing.

Likewise, achieving established goals makes clients feel like they have actually accomplished something. And they have. Better yet, that sense of accomplishment provides motivation to keep going. This may be the most important role that goals play in relationship counseling. They act as motivators as they are achieved.

Golds Should Be Reasonable

A good way to close this post is to discuss the fact that counseling goals should be reasonable. This is something therapists are taught in school. Establishing unreasonable goals sets a client up for failure. On the other hand, reasonable goals sow the seeds of success. That is what you want as either a therapist or client.

Goals play a key role in relationship counseling. They give you something to work for, they act as a measuring stick, and they should ultimately motivate you to continue moving forward. The key is to keep goals reasonable and achievable. Do that and relationship counseling is on good footing.

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