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How to Suggest Couples Therapy


Relationships just like studies and businesses require a lot of hard work for them to thrive and succeed. It is also definite that a healthy relationship will encounter problems at one point in time. Some of these problems can be handled by the couples themselves but others will require therapy. Couples therapy is psychotherapy whereby the therapist that has clinical experience and is licensed works with two people in a relationship by helping them resolve conflicts or basically improve their relationship. A couples therapist also helps individuals in a relationship to understand and gain insights into their relationship. Couples therapy is usually beneficial to any kind of relationship.

If your relationship is on the rocks and you feel that you need to seek couples therapy, your partner may not feel the same way. This may have you asking how do you suggest the whole thing to your partner and convince them that it is a good idea. It is necessary to know and understand that how you go about this is very important. It is wise to do it in a wise manner so as not to aggravate the issues in the relationship further.

Ideas on how to suggest couples therapy to your partner:

  1. Try honesty
    Honesty will always work as every person appreciates the truth. Explain to your partner how you honestly feel about the relationships and issues affecting it. Make them understand and know how the feeling is making you feel and even affect you. This will help them to see your point and hence, make the idea a good one.

  2. State the benefits of therapy
    When suggesting couples therapy to your partner it is important to explain the benefits of therapy to your relationship. Make them see why therapy is important and how it will help salvage your relationship. It is more like selling hope to your partner and helping them understand that therapy has lasting benefits for both of you.

  3. Set a goal
    Having a goal that you will be working towards will make the idea of therapy attractive. When you and your partner sit down and set a goal that you wish to achieve after the therapy sessions will be motivating to both of you. You will both have a common ground. The fact that when you have a goal it is easier to convince each other that therapy is good for your relationship.

  4. Ask for help from your partner
    Therapy is mostly viewed as a way of saying that someone is not okay either emotionally or mentally. Like saying they cannot manage their emotions and most people tend to get defensive about it. To avoid this when you want to suggest therapy to your partner, explain to them that it is you that wants to change and hence improve the relationship. Ask for their support in accompanying you to therapy. They will probably agree to this unlike when you just pointy out that they also need it. By accompanying you they get to see why it is a good idea for them too.

  5. Change yourself first
    If you know suggesting directly to your partner to undertake therapy will not yield positive results, you could opt to start one alone first and make visible changes. This will help them see how positively the sessions are affecting you and the relationships and therefore when you suggest couples therapy they will warm up to the idea.

When to Start Couples Therapy

When to starts couples therapy really depends on the couple. However, it is good to start before it gets worse. Starting couples therapy even before you think that you need one is important as this translates to therapy working really fast for you guys. Starting early is a preventive measure. It ensures worse problems don’t arise or the current issue developing to something that cannot be repaired.

However, there are some general pointers that can help know when to seek therapeutic help for your relationship.


What Couples Therapy is Like

A couples therapy entails you and your partner meeting with a therapist or counselor that has specialized in relationships. The therapist helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses as a couple. Therapy will come in different sessions that intensify as you continue. There are exercises and activities that the therapist will have you do as part of the process. Depending on the problems or issues that the couple has, the therapist administers different activities that purpose to improve the situation. A therapist works with you to help in solidifying your relationship and problem-solving skills.

You ought to expect open communication that is usually what you feel freely. Discussions and reviews of previous sessions are also part of what to expect from a couples therapy. It is also good to note that there will be different sessions and the number of sessions you undertake depends solely on you two and progress made.


Does Couples Therapy Really Work

Well, there have been previous cases of success in couples therapy and others that have failed. The point is couples therapy works and this depends on a number of factors. Some of these factors include;


Couples Therapy Exercises

Couples therapy entails various exercises and techniques that the therapist uses to help the couple work on their relationship. Some of these exercises cuts across all the issues experienced in relationships however others are only applicable for specific issues. Couples therapy may include the following.

  1. Introduction
    The first exercise in therapy is an introduction. This is where the therapist gets to the couple individually. It is here that the therapist gets to hear both sides of the story and understand individual perspectives on why they have come to therapy. This helps the therapist know how to go about the therapy and what strategy will work.

  2. Questions
    Questions are part of the exercises used in treating a couple during therapy. Different questions are asked depending on which stage of therapy the couple is in. these questions help the couple think about their relationships, each other and how to reconnect with each other.

    For instance, circular questions are asked to see how the couple interacts outside therapy. There is also the reciprocal questions that help the couple reveal what they would prefer during arguments or issues being discussed during the therapy. Other questions that are used in therapy are operational questions that reveal clearly couples' feelings in times of conflict or when they are interacting with each other.

  3. Assignments
    A therapist may also give assignments to a couple after a session to take home. In this exercise, the couple is able to put into action some of the things being discussed in the therapy room. This helps the couple see that some of the opinions they give during therapy are practical. Homework is given after each session and it is the first thing to be reviewed during the next session. This exercise helps in contributing to the growth of the couple. Assignments and reviews help the couple in achieving their goal/objective that they set out to attain after therapy.

  4. Enactments
    This exercise is really important in creating a bond and connection between the couple. This exercise is carried out in the therapy room, unlike homework that is an exercise for after therapy sessions. In this, the couples talk to one another and express honestly how they feel. For instance, a wife could say instead of doing this I would like my husband to approach the situation in this way. A therapist is part of this exercise and he/she confirms and validates the expressed feelings and also creates the required mood. This exercise helps in improving communication between the couple.

Conclusion

Love and relationships require a lot of hard work and effort from both parties involved. People in a relationship will always collide but how they deal with this determines if the relationship works or not. Making the decision to seek couples therapy is really difficult. This is because most people don’t want to admit that they need help. But couples therapy is good and can help you save a marriage or relationship. Couples can also take therapy even when there are no serious issues. This helps in identifying partners well and sharing your expectations for the relationship. It is good to take preventive measures that staying ignorant of the problems you might be experiencing as a couple and then later regretting it.

It is also good to note that effective couples therapy should be able to help both of you both individually and even the relationship. Don’t undertake therapy as a last resort but do it before things are at their worst. Get therapy and cultivate skills to help you deal with the problems that arise in relationships.



By Sandra Fisher, August 2019

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