The Benefits of Couples Therapy
Even happy relationships have small issues that can cause arguments or resentment. These issues have the potential to turn a source of comfort into a source of stress for you and your family. The time to consider couples therapy is in the early stages when you are still hopeful and focused on finding a lasting solution. By hesitantly wondering, is couples therapy right for me?, you may be missing an opportunity to prevent larger cracks from forming, cracks that can have a lasting impact on children who often model future relationships on what they saw growing up.
Start with self-reflection
In order to benefit from therapy you have to be willing to share and that starts with self-reflection. Identify the pain-points in your relationship and be willing to talk about them openly. Some of the topics most commonly covered in couples therapy sessions are:
How you communicate with each other
How you raise your children
Traumatic events in your relationship
Don’t push your partner into therapy—GUIDE THEM
Couples therapy has a 75% success rate across a wide range of backgrounds but statistics may not be enough to persuade your partner to participate. Do your research before you broach the subject. Show your partner that couples therapy is a path you’ve considered carefully and give them the information they need to see the value in exploring therapy as a potential solution. The way in which couples therapy is presented is often the deciding factor. Counselors say that men in particular are more willing to try couples therapy when it focuses on results. Instead of just saying that you would like to go to couples therapy, take the time to show why and how it could change your relationship. Think of why you would like to go, what is good in your relationship and what you might like to change. Explain what positive results you would like to see and how therapy could make those happen. While the process of achieving those results might be difficult, knowing that there are results to look forward to can smooth the process.
It’s ok to be picky when choosing a therapist
Once you have decided to pursue therapy, there are several points to consider when choosing who will be your therapist before you book a session.
The practical aspects like when you can schedule sessions, where they are located, does your insurance cover the cost or can you afford them if they are not covered.
Do they specialize in couples therapy? Do they have credentials from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy? AAMFT
How many sessions or for how long would they suggest you need? Does this fit with your schedule?
Do they have training in the specific issues you would like help with? If you feel that you need help with religious or cultural issues do they know how to navigate these subjects?
Since this is a person you will potentially spend a large amount of time with make sure you feel comfortable with them. Don’t be afraid to try more than one therapist if someone just doesn’t click with you. One way of finding a match could be talking to friends or family who have done therapy to see if they have suggestions since they know both you and the therapist. Another good resource is the AAMFT which lists credentialed therapists. Your insurance provider or community groups are also resources worth exploring as they can help you find someone who is local to you.
Choosing to work with a couples counselor is an important decision and one that should not be taken lightly. However, it is a powerful tool that can have long-lasting results for both your relationship and your family.