Is Couples Counseling Right For Your Relationship?

By , , YourTango

couple considering a relationshp counseling therapy
YourTango Experts offer advice on how to make couples counseling work for your relationship.

For many couples, the idea of bringing a third party into their intimate relationship is scary—or just plain out of the question. Luckily, the stigma associated with couples therapy is well on its way out. Healthy couples are enlisting counseling professionals to help work through sticky patches, large and small, and are the better for it.

Still, it can be tricky getting started. Here are tips we've collected, straight from YourTango Experts, to help you decide if counseling is for you, how to talk to your partner about it and how to maximize your experience and make sure it's working once you get there.

 

1. When is it time to enlist an expert's help?
Some people seek out a professional when their pain is too much to manage or when the reality of their current situation is too overwhelming. Others might seek out a therapist when they start to recognize negative patterns. Therapy offers a way to break patterns, create change and find something different in life.

It is wise to enlist the help and guidance of a professional whenever you can't find the solutions to the problems you have or the questions you are asking, or the goal you are trying to accomplish in your relationship is not coming together, in spite of your best efforts. If you have been reaching toward your goal for six months or more, and still don't see the progress you want, then by all means, reach out for help. Could Couples Therapy Really Save Us

2. We need therapy! But how do I get my partner involved?
It is not uncommon for one spouse to be more interested or motivated to seek out therapy. One way to bring up therapy, especially if you have seen an individual counselor, is to tell your partner that his participation would be beneficial (i.e., offers the therapist another perspective). Caution, if you have been seeing someone individually for a few months or longer, your partner might be resistant/intimidated to going to YOUR therapist. If this is the case, give him the task of finding someone HE likes for you both to see. 3 Reasons To Seek Couples Therapy

Another way to talk with your spouse is tell him you want to increase the positives in the relationship. Sure, we all have our complaints and negative aspects within the relationship, but it is easier to increase the positives than decrease the negatives (although a good therapist will help you do both!). Instead of concentrating on negative behaviors ("We need therapy because you do everything wrong!"), focus on the hope for the positive ("I want to laugh more and have fun with you…and therapy can help us do that."). How can your partner argue with that?
—Anne Crowley

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