1) Sessions should NOT be spent with you fighting and arguing and the therapist just listening. One of the chief complaints I have heard from many people about previous therapy is that the therapists allowed them to bicker and argue, and they felt worse after every session. Effective therapists do not allow couples to continue to engage in the same destructive forms of communications that they do at home.
2) Effective couples work usually involves active participation from the therapist and each member of the couple. Couples who succeed in counseling learn to stop simply blaming the other person. Instead they move toward taking personal responsibility for their part of the problem and making changes to be part of the solution. Effective therapists rapidly identifiy negative patterns before they gain speed. Couples need to learn how to do that at home.
3) Effective couples work should regularly leave you feeling more uplifted as an individual and closer to each other. Sometimes there definitely are difficult feelings and issues to tackle. But just as good marriage and relationships should be mostly positive the same is true of counseling.
4) Effective counseling is partially an education and coaching process. Research has shown that there are specific communication patterns that simply do not work and specific patterns that do. . You need to learn what works and youneed help to practice it.