Posts Tagged ‘couples counseling’

How To Get My Spouse Into Couples Counseling?

Monday, June 13th, 2016

I get asked this question at least twice a week. I will often get a call from a prospective new client asking me about all the ins and outs of marriage counseling and couples’ therapy only at the end I would hear them say: “Let me talk to my wife/husband. And by the way how do I get them to come to see you?”

I am, frankly, at a loss about what to tell them. While there are still people in this day and age who shirk from therapy, most of us do not see it as a stigma anymore. More often than not, the other partner feels it’s too late.

Many times, they, themselves, suggested couple’s therapy for a long while to which there was a negative response. And now that the relationship is too far gone, they simply do not wish to give in to the request of their partner who hurt them for too long or they do not want to “work” on their relationship.

There are also those situations when a partner who is resisting therapy, simply has stuff that they do not want to talk about and don’t want to be on the spot by a therapist. Typically, there is either a secret or they simply do not want to talk about what is truly on their mind and are concerned that they will not have a choice when inside a therapist’s office.

By the way, most of the time, I don’t hear again from those callers who need to talk to their partner. So I do not have a magic answer to those asking this question. I suggest talking to him or her and tell them you found a therapist to work with, which shows motivation to get help. Be honest and vulnerable about fears of losing each other in the absence of support and how that would affect you, and what that would mean to you.

In choosing that route, I urge to be vulnerable and empathic and not hold back on expressing emotion. It may or may not make a difference, but when you want to save your relationship, and you feel remorseful, it is important to go all out.

I also suggest reading Sue Johnson’s “Hold me Tight” and John Gottman’s “7 Principles for Making Marriage Work.”  These books are written by great therapists in the field of Couples Therapy and may offer some hope to an otherwise defeated partner.

How Do You Know When Your Relationship Needs Counseling?

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

I get many calls from people wanting to talk about whether couples therapy is appropriate for them. They almost always start with all the wonderful things about the relationship as if to have me say, they are OK. Then when I ask about what prompted their inquiry, comes the story about fighting, conflict, doubts, “communication problems” that are not getting better and inability to gain any traction with these issues.

My sense in general, is that if someone is questioning if they need couples counseling, the answer usually is that they do. People don’t call me unless they tried to fix things on their own and have failed.

Now there are definitely couples who need relatively few sessions to get past an issue or be able to drop into a more honest and vulnerable mode of communication which restores connection and stops negative cycles of being stuck. But there are more couples who need longer treatment. They are couples who have been chronically unhappy, disconnected for a long time, with a long list of resentments or may have had or are having an affair, which takes a while to heal and make sense of. By the time these couples enter therapy, they are either desperate to “fix” stuff or they are hopeless and resigned and come as a last resort.

So basically, if you are unhappy for a while and things are not getting better, you owe it to yourself, your partner and family, to explore what is going on and to seek professional help. Sometimes, when the couple is in a bad state for a while, they lose perspective or get so stuck in Blame/Defend pattern that they can’t get anywhere.

A consultation with a trained couples therapist or marriage counselor is always a good idea. You can try and see how the process works and then decide if you want to commit to the process or look for another therapist for a better fit or do nothing.