Sometimes you swing and hit a home run, and sometimes you strike out. But do you walk off the field forever or get ready for your next at-bat? It might not be easy to face what went wrong with your couples therapy the first time, but if you work to pinpoint the issue, you may find a way to make it succeed.
Why Counseling Didn’t Work
Couples that fail in counseling often think their relationship is doomed, but there are three reasons why that might not be true:
1. The Relationship Problems Are Secondary
Individuals with untreated mental/behavioral issues will almost always have difficulty in relationships. In cases of severe mental illness, addiction or abusive behavior, couples counseling may help; however, getting help for the afflicted individual should take precedence.
2. It Was Us
For couples counseling to succeed, there usually needs to be a mutual effort. If one partner is forcing the other to go or is uncomfortable discussing intimate details, therapy will likely be unsuccessful.
Most adult emotional responses that contribute to a dysfunctional relationship are habitual and very difficult to change. A good therapist should be able to help a couple work hard to understand their feelings and communicate with their partner better.
3. It Was Them
Sometimes a therapist doesn’t have specialized education or experience working with couples. Individual therapy techniques address each partner’s problems and treat the symptoms instead of working to repair the relationship. And sometimes, a therapist is simply a bad match for the couple.
Despite failed therapy, these relationships aren’t necessarily over. Often, they can be saved with a different approach, a stronger effort and a better therapist.
Finding a Better Therapist
It can be challenging to find a qualified therapist, but when your relationship is on the line, it could be worth the hunt. A physician or a spiritual advisor may be able to recommend a therapist or try searching national online directories like the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.
When you research therapists, look for those who use evidence-based approaches such as The Gottman Method or Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. A credible therapist should also be willing to answer some questions. You could ask things like:
- Basic fees and scheduling
- Advanced training and experience
- Marital history (if it’s important to you)
Overall, trust your instincts. If you or your partner has a sense that a therapist may not be a good fit that lingers after a few visits, it might be a good idea to move on.
You may not find your ideal therapist at first, but it’s ok to test drive a few, like a couples therapist in Palatine, IL, if it means you’ll find the one who can help repair your relationship. Make a call; your better future could start today.
Thank you to the experts at Lotus Wellness Center, for their contributions to counseling and therapy.