If you’ve noticed problems creeping into your marriage or relationship, you may begin considering couples therapy sessions so you can work on these issues in a healthy communicative manner. And it’s understandable why you’d want to seek out professional help—according to Psychology Today, couples therapy is 75 percent effective at strengthening relationships. But what can you do if your partner refuses to attend?
The joint decision to attend couples therapy involves both parties admitting that the relationship is troubled. This can ignite feelings of failure and rage from one or both of the parties involved. If your spouse or partner refuses to work on the relationship with a trained psychological professional, there are a few options you can pursue.
1. Attend Alone
While “couples therapy” implies the attendance of two parties, many psychologists are perfectly willing to meet and counsel individuals. Starting the therapy process alone can give you the freedom to share your struggles without mincing words. A therapist in Palatine, IL can also give you insight on strong communication with your spouse or partner. Your willingness to continually attend counseling may actually convince your partner to start accompanying you on your weekly visits. Just remember: you probably won’t see results right away. Transforming your communication habits, or your partner’s unwillingness will take time and hard work.
2. Offer Assurance
For many people, couples therapy is equated with the end of a relationship. Your partner might be backing away from the concept by attacking the institution of relationship counseling. When broaching the topic with your partner, assure them that seeking help does not mean the end of the relationship. Focus on the positive outcomes of therapy; highlighting all the goals and achievements that are possible once you begin attending. These could include increased intimacy, improved communication or re-established connections. Finally, stress to your partner that you believe the relationship is worth fighting for. By assuring them of your faith in both the process and the relationship, they will be more willing to consider attending.
Communication is a consistent downfall of marriages or relationships. Because of this, most partners bring up the concept of couples therapy through blame and disappointment. This denies your partner a voice and will increase the likelihood of their refusal. Instead, approach them with a level of vulnerability and highlight your faults as well as their own. Then, be open to listening to their concerns and feelings. Stay empathetic and give them time to come to terms with their decision to attend couples therapy.
Taking steps to begin couples therapy can be difficult for all parties involved. However, if you remain positive, open and empathetic, your partner will be more open to starting the counseling process by your side. At the end of the day, you both want to heal the rifts in your relationship, and couples therapy is one of the many tools of the trade when it comes to strengthening or re-igniting your love.
Thanks to Lotus Wellness Center for their insight into wellness and health.