Fact: Actually, couples therapy has been shown to be helpful even with day to day issues that pop up in a long term relationship. Common issues that every couple experiences at some point in their relationship such as: communication problems, a life change or stressor, or differences in beliefs/dreams/goals are all things that can be greatly helped by going to therapy together. Think of it this way – if you want your car to run well and have a long life, you take it in for oil changes, get the tires rotated, and take it in for tune-ups. You don’t wait for the engine to blow up and then hope the car turns out okay. It’s the same with relationships; they need care, maintenance and even the occasional tune-up to thrive and last.
Myth: “Isn’t the term marriage therapy? Meaning it’s only for married couples?”
Fact: While a great number of people who seek out therapy together are married, research has shown that couples therapy can be beneficial to a committed relationship regardless of their legal status (that’s why it’s most often referred to as “couples therapy"). Therapy can be very beneficial for couples who co-habitate, couples who are committed to one another but not married, couples thinking about marriage, married couples, couples expecting a new baby, and divorcing couples. Yes, even couples who have decided to end their relationship can benefit from therapy, especially when there are children in the mix.
Myth: “My insurance doesn’t cover couples therapy and I just can’t afford it. Plus it takes a lot of time that I don’t have.”
Fact: First, while many insurance plans DON’T cover couples therapy, you may be surprised at how affordable it can be for you and your family. Gone are the days where therapy is expected to happen at least once per week for years and years. Many people find that they can really benefit from therapy in as little as 8-10 sessions (depending on the issue and each individual). It’s often recommended that therapy start out weekly at first and then gradually space out (which is often financially more feasible for the couple). I always encourage folks to TALK to the therapist they want to work with and discuss a plan that would be financially comfortable for them.
As far as time goes, most couple’s sessions (with the exception of some initial sessions) are 50 minutes long. That’s less time than a typical meal at a restaurant! Not only that, many therapists work evenings and weekends to accommodate their clients’ work schedules.
Myth: “The therapist is just going to take the other person’s side and gang up on me.”
False: As a couples therapist, my client isn’t you or your partner. It’s your relationship. That means that it is NOT my job to take one person’s side over the other, but to help you both figure out how to move past an issue together. I also have a no secrets policy meaning that I do not hold secrets for one partner from the other (UNLESS there is a serious safety issue). By keeping communication open and honest for all parties involved, therapy has a much better success rate and keeps partners focused on each other.
Myth: “All couples counselors are the same. We already had a bad experience in therapy together.”
Fact: Trained therapists come from all different theoretical orientations and backgrounds! It’s important to see if a particular therapist matches your style before you start therapy with them. Ask questions! I promise, we are happy to help make sure you find someone that works for you and your spouse. I approach therapy from the Gottman method (https://www.gottman.com/), an evidence based approach, meaning there has been a lot of research about the effectiveness of this kind of couples work.