5 Things to Know About Couples Therapy
Couples therapy is a valuable tool in helping to navigate relationships and there are many reasons why a couple may seek therapy. This dynamic is quite different than individual work so there are things that as a MFT, I feel would be beneficial for couples to know, whether they are considering therapy or are already engaging in it.
1st - Things won’t be magically fixed overnight. Can you feel better and have more hope after 1 session? Absolutely! But for real change to occur, it will take time, effort, and intention from both partners.
2nd, the therapist needs to know where each of you stand. Are you prepared to work and fight for your relationship? Are you out of energy? Do you feel hopeless because you feel like you have tried everything? Are you here because your significant other wanted to come? If so, are you able to be open to engaging? Regardless of where you are, there is no wrong answer and definitely no judgement. But being honest up front will help your sessions be more effective. Honesty is key.
3rd, Things may get worse before they get better. Many times when a couple comes in for couples therapy, there has been a breakdown in communication. They fully recognize that things are not going well in their relationship but the depth of the issues come to the surface during therapy, making the situation feel worse than what it was when they weren’t communicating and weren’t in therapy. Keep going! Once these things are brought into the light, restoration can begin.
4th - The therapist isn’t there to determine whether or not your relationship will be successful, to take sides or to tell one person they are wrong. The therapist is a neutral party that is there to provide a safe place for couples to talk about what is causing disruption in their relationship, help them cope with and process through their emotions, gain insight and learn tools to help them function in a healthy and effective manner.
And 5th - it isn’t always an easy choice to begin couples therapy and it doesn’t mean that you have failed. It means that you recognize that it is time for help from a professional and you were willing to take that step.
If you are considering therapy, there are numerous ways to connect with a therapist. Personal referrals from someone who has found a therapist that they like is an excellent place to start. If you are in Washington state, you can contact our group practice, Sanctuary Psychological Services at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have offices in Oak Harbor and Edmonds. If you are outside of the area, psychologytoday.com and goodtherapy.com are great resources to find a therapist.