Help! My Partner Refuses to Go to Couples Counseling
Couples counseling is an amazing tool for all couples to deepen their understanding of one another and grow together. Furthermore, couples counseling equips people with the skills to help tackle disagreements and prolong their happiness within a relationship. Maybe you know this all already and are wanting to attend couples counseling, but perhaps your partner does not feel the same. In fact, it is not uncommon for couples to feel divided on the importance of couples counseling. So, if you have found yourself thinking, “Help! My partner refuses to go to couples counseling,” here are some ways to potentially help them warm up to the idea.
Can Individual Counseling Substitute for Couples Counseling?
In short, no, individual counseling cannot act as a substitute for couples counseling. In other words, research has not shown that individual counseling helps couple’s resolve their relationship issues. While there is value in working on yourself and your own struggles in relationships, it is nearly impossible to effectively tackle relationship problems without both parties present. Furthermore, using individual therapy to tackle relationship problems can result in you feeling more alone, feeling the immense responsibility to create all the change, or make you feel like you have no impact on your partner whatsoever. Additionally, your partner may feel left out in the decision making. In conclusion, individual therapy is great for considering your options and formulating a strategy for moving forward. However, individual therapy will not work as a substitute for couples therapy and therefore will not resolve your relationship problems.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Again, we are left with the question of how to get our partner to agree to trying couples counseling? First, put yourself in your partner’s shoes and try to understand why they may be hesitant. Perhaps they are afraid you and the counselor will gang up on them, pinning all the problems on them. In this case, assure them that ethically speaking a counselor must remain impartial. Therapists will never take sides, their aim is to facilitate a confidential, safe space for both partners to freely express their feelings and opinions on issues that have made being together more difficult. Moreover, there is no blame involved in couples counseling. Couples counseling is rather an open discussion about the various events which have led up to a problem causing situation so you both can become more aware and can share the accountability.
Maybe your partner’s concerns have nothing to do with blame. Perhaps they are a very private person and feel threatened by sharing the most intimate parts of their life with a stranger. Or, it may be, that your partner sees couples therapy as a sign of doom. In these cases, it is best to then talk about couples therapy in a positive light. Couples therapy is in no way a sign of weakness or failure! In reality, couples counseling is an opportunity to learn helpful tools to deepen your connection and work through conflict. Ultimately, it is an investment to ensure the long-term success of your relationship.
Remember, remain calm and understanding when talking to your partner about their concerns. If you do not agree with their concerns, try your best to empathize and validate them anyways. Do not try to relentlessly push the idea of counseling on them, it may make it harder to convince them in the long run. Here you can find a list of more specific questions to ask your partner and get the conversation rolling.
Share Resources About Couples Counseling
If you have started your own research into the methods and benefits of couples counseling, sharing this information with your partner could be a great place to start. Seeing this information from sources other than you could help your partner see the validity of couples counseling more clearly. For more information on couples counseling, or to book an appointment, visit Chriselda Santos’ website. As a licensed psychotherapist and certified life coach, Chriselda is dedicated to helping couples overcome their challenges, repair, and thrive together. Hopefully, with enough time and care, you will be able to get your partner onboard with couples counseling and make the most of your relationship.