Couples Therapy for One?
“Our relationship is falling apart and my partner just won’t come to therapy. I’m so scared that things will never change. Will I be able to help my relationship if I’m the only one going to therapy? Does couples therapy for one really exist?”
If this is a question you have, you’re not alone. This is a very common concern for people considering couples therapy. There is a tendency for the more distressed partner to initiate therapy, and if this is you, I admire your courage. Painfully, I’ve met people who waited too long before seeking professional help, because they thought couples therapy would only work if both partners attended. Of course, it's optimal when both partners are directly involved in the therapeutic process. However, when that’s not an option, couples therapy for one can help.
When both partners are committed to the relationship, but only one partner is willing to seek therapeutic support, it’s possible for that partner to initiate positive changes in their relationship. As a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), I have witnessed many clients enhance their relational fulfillment and satisfaction through individual therapy. I think of it as a ripple effect where a small change in one person expands to affect change for the couple.
Change is both scary and exciting. It's important to remember that people change when they are open to the possibilities of change and that change is a process that’s different for everyone. During our sessions, we will focus on identifying the strengths that are already present in your relationship, while developing more effective interactional patterns between you and your partner.
The key to a healthy relationship is learning how to become a happier person from within, instead of expecting your partner to create happiness for you. Creating small shifts in how you relate to yourself and your partner can lead to a happier and healthier relationship over time.
If you’re interested in couples therapy, but have been waiting for your partner to agree, then wait no more. Individual counseling with a relationship expert can help you make positive changes in your life and your relationship, making it even stronger than it was before.
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