I always say that EVERY couple would benefit from therapy. As some brilliant person once said, “The best time to fix a leaky roof is when the sun is shining.”
BUT who wants to voluntarily do something that conjures up images of a woman in a beige sweater looking over her glasses, asking, “And how do you feel about that?”
Then there was the husband who very- simply offered his description of what he thought couples therapy was going to be like: “Misery.” Who would voluntarily sign up for THAT??
Myths about what goes on in couples therapy abound…. And I can imagine that some of those myths prevent many couples from picking up the phone and making an appointment.
For those who are a little bit curious, this is what couples therapy IS and IS NOT:
Couples therapy is NOT going over fights with someone to tell you who is right and who is wrong.
Husbands, coupes therapy is NOT an opportunity for your wife to use a female therapist to gang up in you and tell you what a bad guy you are.
Wives, couples therapy is NOT an opportunity for your husband to use a male therapist to gang up on you and tell you what a horrible person you are.
Couples therapy is NOT simply airing out your feelings and complaints while someone nods and asks you how you feel about that.
Couples therapy is NOT a place where the therapist takes sides. Suggestions are made for both partners as relationship issues are generally viewed as a function of a cycle in which each person participates.
Couples therapy is NOT a place where you will be put in the hot-seat, judged, and ridiculed for the things you admit and things you have done.
Couples therapy is NOT a place where you are forced to stare at each other, hold hands, and compliment each other when you are flaming angry.
Couples therapy IS a place where you will be heard and understood by your therapist AND your partner (Yes , even your side of the story, husbands.)
Couples therapy IS a place where you will identify how your relationship style, personality features, and past experiences influence your current feelings and behaviors. You will also learn this about your partner.
Couples therapy is a place where you will learn how to avoid and manage existing and hypothetical relationship pitfalls based on what you find out above. (Mistrust, fears of abandonment, fears of rejection, feelings of inadequacy, resentment, sexual challenges, etc.)
Couples therapy is a place where you will learn to communicate constructively and receive suggestions for more constructive behaviors.
Couples therapy is a process of personal accountability and owning your part, not blaming or changing the other person.
Couples therapy, when engaged-in willingly, can increase emotional connection and hope.
Couples therapy has moments that are hard, moments that are uncomfortable, moments that are emotional- but it is not all about venting and talking about feelings. For the most part, it is actually focused on increasing understanding and offering solutions.
Wanna know more specifically how the magic of couples therapy goes down? Read my post, The Cure for the Common Relationship.