Conflict is an opportunity to learn to love our partner better over time.
You’ve heard friends talk about it.
Maybe you’ve thought about giving it a try.
(Or vowed never to give it a try.)
There’s a lot of misinformation surrounding couples counseling.
Let’s separate myth from reality.
Read on for 4 myths about couples counseling:
1. It’s for “troubled” relationships only.
Maybe you believe that a “good” relationship shouldn’t need outside help. That, somehow, you should be able to work things out yourselves. You’re not alone– plenty of people hold this belief. It’s closely tied to stigma that still surrounds emotional wellness in our culture. It’s also the reason many of us experience unnecessary suffering.
All relationships encounter challenges. Healthy relationships grow through these challenges, and couples counseling can help you learn principles, tools, and strategies to grow together.
2. It’s a last-resort option.
Infidelity. Financial crisis. Irreconcilable difference. You might think these are the kinds of issues that bring folks to couples counseling. And while it’s true that major stressors often motivate couples to seek professional support, that certainly isn’t the only way to use couples counseling. Many couples find therapy helpful at various stages throughout the life of their relationship: At the beginning, during times of transition, and as needed along the way!
Couples counseling is actually more likely to be sustainably helpful to couples when they seek it proactively, rather than waiting until a crisis occurs.
3. It’s a setup.
For some of us, the idea of couples counseling can feel intimidating. You might worry, for instance, that the therapist will try to tell you and your partner what to do without first listening to your needs and goals. Or you might be concerned that the therapist will “pick sides” and team up with your partner against you. Fear is a common reaction to new experiences. But, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Good couples counseling aims to benefit both of you.
In couples counseling, your relationship is the “client”. A skilled therapist will help create a safe environment in which you each can feel heard and respected.
4. It’s the only way therapy can improve your relationships.
Maybe couples counseling simply isn’t an option right now. Perhaps you’re not currently in a relationship. Or maybe your partner isn’t on board. This doesn’t mean you can’t improve the relationships in your life! For many of us, one of the greatest benefits of individual therapy is the way it can transform our current relationships, and set us up for success in our future relationships.
By focusing on your own values, needs, strengths, and challenges in individual therapy, you can build a healthy foundation from which any of your current (and future) relationships can develop!
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Curious to learn more about how couples counseling can help you?