Relationships can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling, however, sometimes they present challenges we don’t feel prepared to overcome. In these occasions, many people don’t seek help from a therapist because they have wrong preconceived notions about couple’s therapy.
We thought that gathering the most common misconceptions we have come across through years of experience in this field and deconstructing them would help you make an informed decision about couple’s therapy.
My Partner’s Problem, Not Mine
Relationship and couple’s therapy works with the relationship.
— The focus is on the dynamics —
Though partners in the relationship may gain individual insight about themselves, the focus is on the dynamics that create the problematic situations. In order to work on these issues in the relationship, it’s important that all partners have an opportunity to express how they feel, their wants and needs. Partners entering relationship and couple’s therapy come to therapy for the mutual purpose of exploring the relationship dynamics which they are part of.
It’s Too Late
Relationship and couple’s therapy helps you decide where you are in terms of your willingness to work on, or continue, the relationship.
— In some cases, partners find that with therapeutic support they are able to develop skills that allow them to continue in the relationship in a healthier way. For others, they are ready to leave the relationship —
Therapy can provide a safe space to express the need to move on, and can provide a supportive way to create a more positive ending. It can also be used to help couples discuss and communicate issues arising around practical issues involved in a separation or ending of relationship.
My partner won’t change OR My partner will realize what they are doing and will change.
Just like people, relationships can change. Partners in the relationship have the option to make individual changes that are healthier for themselves, as well as options for individual change that benefit the relationship.
— Therapy provides an option for each person to examine their role in the relationship and decide what they would like to change —
Partners may be tired of their role and would like a more balanced relationship. Therapy facilitates this discussion, as well as the option for how to enact these changes.
My partner won’t listen to a therapist.
Couple’s therapists support you and your partner(s) to express how you are feeling, what you want and to help you find the language and actions to get there. The therapist helps create a healthy and constructive discussion by introducing skills and techniques to aid the relationship goals.
— It is not the role of our therapists to tell a person what to do to change —
Rather, the therapist facilitates the opening up of the person’s experience so they can explore themselves. In situations where one person in the relationship is not willing to engage in therapy, it is difficult to help resolve the issues in the relationship. The therapist will address this with you and decide whether this type of therapy is productive and what other options exist for support for the individuals involved.
The therapist won’t really see what my partner is doing.
In a professional setting, therapists get to know your relationship and you.
— Safe place —
The therapy rook becomes a safe place for each partner to express their perception and feelings of what is going on.
The therapist will help us get back to the way we were.
You may recall happier days earlier in the relationship and have a strong desire to get back to those positive feelings. If you and your partner(s) are working to develop a healthier relationship, then what you reflect, explore, and practice in couple’s therapy may improve the relationship dynamic and how you feel about each other.
— Going forward —
We like to think of going ‘forward’ with new skills in a more developed, rich relationship, than ‘backwards’ to a time when you might have had fewer coping strategies.
More information can be found here: Couple’s Therapy at the Marylebone Centre for Psychological Therapies
For further questions or assistance, please contact us on 020 7224 3532 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org