It’s difficult to bring up a serious or emotional topic in any kind of relationship, whether it’s romantic, platonic, or family. Talking to your partner about therapy or counseling is even more nerve-wracking. Therapy may be extremely beneficial for both individuals and couples, but there are still a lot of stigmas attached to the idea, which can make it challenging for both partners to feel prepared and eager to have a talk about receiving professional treatment. There are ways to bring up the subject with your spouse or partner so that everyone is at ease if you’re considering doing so.
The Allen Group’s Dr. Sherrie Sims Allen emphasizes the value of employing couple’s training (i.e., therapy or counseling) to develop a shared language that enables partners to discuss difficulties. The best couples, according to her, are those who participate in our relationship training and are able to go deep into their relationship’s early stages, when there is more love than disagreement.
The Allen Group’s depth psychologist, relationship strategist, and Myers-Briggs practitioner certified Sherrie Sims Allen, Ph.D.
It’s time to get assistance if you and your spouse feel as though you are stuck in a cycle of the same problems and are unable to find a resolution. Here, we ask Dr. Sims Allen how to handle and steer clear of the difficult discussions surrounding couples therapy—for both married and unmarried partners.
When You’re Single
Whether or whether you and your partner have been married may affect how you approach this discussion. It’s also crucial to remember that many couples look into premarital counseling, sometimes known as therapy, before getting married or even before getting engaged. According to Dr. Sims Allen, you should “start by admitting how much you appreciate your partner’s gifts and talents that they are providing to the relationship.” Talk about your shared values or your aim to bring your best selves to the relationship and how to do so through couple’s relationship training to explain why premarital therapy or couple’s training, performing couple’s work together, is essential to you.
Dr. Sims Allen advises expressing your intention to do the work as a couple after you’ve discussed why exploring counseling is essential to you. Give your partner specific information about the work you want to do with a therapist, counselor, coach, or trainer, she advises. This final step is crucial; there’s no need to rush this conversation. “[Then] ask your partner when you may circle back to them to chat about taking the program, giving your partner time to consider things through.”
When You Are Married
Dr. Sims Allen advises, “Tell [your partner] why couple’s relationship training is vital to you and the relationship and why it matters.” When you bring up the subject of some relationship training, it’s important that you have done some research and can offer suggestions for your partner to research further, she advises. “Perhaps, briefly, bring up an example of where you two have had a breakdown and couldn’t solve it, but you know that if you had more relationship tools you would be able to use them when you hit a ditch in your relationship,” she suggests.
Of course, it’s crucial to emphasize to your spouse how important your marriage is to you and why you’re committed to working together to develop new communication skills because doing so will strengthen both your union and your separate relationships.
When Your Partner Is Not Excited About Counseling
Try not to get discouraged straight away if your partner is not open to the concept of counseling after you bring it up. Dr. Sims Allen advises that if you bring up the matter and your spouse declines, you should carefully consider their reasoning. “Once you have thoroughly comprehended their perspective, then share your perspective, which can include you first seeking treatment or counseling and working on yourself before asking your partner to do work with you as a couple.”
She emphasizes that even if only one partner works on the relationship, the dynamics of the couplehood can still be favorably changed and the partnership can be elevated. Although it’s best to have two people working on the connection, one person can still make a difference.
Keep in mind to take your time.
Remember that this process will take time regardless of the circumstance. Dr. Sims Allen advises, “Remember, a conversation like couple’s work involves time and care to ensure that you are both in alignment for new improvements.” “Asking for change as a couple can come out as a threat to the relationship or fear. Easy does it,” she counsels. “Change can be difficult in general. Go slowly.
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