Times are changing. People who struggle with depression, anxiety, and other issues are more likely to seek help. People talk to their doctors to seek relief from mental health symptoms. Lots of people go to psychotherapy or counseling to get to the root of their symptoms.
The most common form of psychotherapy today is individual therapy, but that may soon change. More people will choose couple therapy as they learn of its advantages, and as skilled couple therapists become more available.
Emotions are Yours, Mine, and Ours
Our internal emotions and well-being connect directly to our partner’s. Humans connect emotionally through their physical wiring, from birth to death. Whether we like it or not, we depend on our most important person, and how we relate to that person. We depend on them for our emotional state, and our ability to manage our emotions.
Our best possible resource for healing and transformation is our partner, far more than our therapist. Our greatest barrier to change is also likely to be our partner. Couples can address one partner’s depression, anxiety, or struggle much more easily by learning to working together than one person can on their own.
If one partner is in distress, so is the other
When one partner is in distress, the other is in distress too. Nervous systems are wired this way. This is true when one partner seems as though, and may even believe, everything is fine. Working together brings relief and healing to both partners, lifting the family up higher than individual work can achieve.
Showing up with our partner reveals the more challenging parts of ourselves
We show up differently in psychotherapy when we go together versus alone. Going alone, we develop a safe and supportive relationship with our therapist, often quite different from the relationship we have at home. This can be incredibly healing and even life saving. However, the therapist sees us as the person we are when we feel most safe and supported. The therapist may not see, or have difficulty seeing, the stressed and acting out parts of us that show up at home. Those are the very parts of us that we (and our partner) struggle with the most on a daily basis.
The most stressed, challenging parts of ourselves naturally show up in couple therapy. A couple therapist can clearly see and help us with these parts of ourselves. Therapy outcomes are more likely to be as great as we want.
Couple therapy can have better results
Because their nervous systems are intertwined, partners are tied to each other’s level of emotional development. Partners are always approximately at the same level of emotional maturity. If partners don’t grow together, the partner who is growing alone may be forced to choose between giving up their growth, or leaving their partner.
Individuals who have been “stuck” in therapy for a decade or more might find significant relief only when they go to couple therapy. Many costly divorces can be prevented with effective couple counseling.
If you’re considering therapy, you may want to consider couple counseling instead. Look for someone who specializes in couple work, has extensive post-graduate training in working with couples, and has a strong reputation.
Have you found a good couple therapist? If so, give them a shout out of thanks!
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash