Couples therapy, despite long-held misconceptions, is more than the last resort for people heading straight to divorce court. It is an excellent tool for partners to improve their sex life and resolve conflicts healthily.
An OkCupid dating coach, Damona Hoffman, said, “Therapy is healthy for all couples, and the stigma is diminishing. It can only be positive to work with a professional who can help you develop a healthy framework for relating to one another and meeting your needs as a couple.”
However, there are ways to broach the topic that maximize effectiveness. Below, Hoffman and other relationship experts provide advice for involving your partner in couples counseling.
Timing Is Everything
Rachel Needle, a psychologist, advises, “When asking your partner to go to couples therapy, be sure to begin the conversation when you are free from distractions, and it is planned, rather than in response to something that just happened, like an argument.”
Couples therapy might appear weaponized as you use it to pressure your partner, said Annisa Pirasteh, the owner and therapist of Act2Change Therapy & Wellness Center.
Embrace Their Feelings
Tracy Ross, a licensed clinical social worker, specializing in couples and family therapy, advises asking an open-ended question. How would you feel about couples therapy if I said I’m committed to our relationship and always looking for improvements? What do you think about that?
Therapy may be more important to one partner than the other. Focus on listening and showing empathy when you hear a negative response. Don’t assume their resistance.
Look For A Therapist Together
Consider checking sites like Psychology Today or Good Therapy, which have online directories where professionals can be found, to demystify the counseling process.
Pirasteh noted, “browsing therapist profiles together may defuse some resistance to couples therapy. If you are reviewing websites together, consider listing some qualities you want in a therapist and see where they overlap.”
Keep Trying Therapy
Pirasteh suggests, “If you cannot get your partner on board with the idea of attending couples therapy, consider attending individual therapy to process your thoughts, feelings, and needs.”
She suggests sharing what you’re learning from individual therapy with your partner, which might inspire them to reconsider attending together.