Couples Therapy: 3 reasons you’d say no.
Couples Therapy triggers anxiety.
You get stuck on a familiar subject and know you need help. But you feel a tinge of anxiety and don’t reach out for couples therapy. Here’s the complaints I often hear from couples:
- “We keep arguing about the same thing”
- “I’ve tried everything and nothing moves us forward”
- “We can’t solve this problem on our own”
Most recognize they need help, but feel hopeless and don’t reach out. I want to talk with you about 3 reasons couples don’t go to therapy.
1. Couples therapy feels overwhelming.
Many couples are afraid that if they were to go to couples therapy they would be overwhelmed by the problem. They’re worried that if they start talking about their issues they won’t be able to handle it. The fear of conflict keeps them from reaching out for help.
This is understandable. The fear of conflict is what keeps many couples arguing the way they do. When we get anxious about conflict, it changes the way we engage in the dialogue with our partner. Often the anxiety is felt by both, creating a situation where couples both suppress the conflict until it “blows up”. The very thought of creating space to talk about their issue in therapy is terrifying.
2. Couples therapy feels exposing.
Often couples are afraid if they create space to resolve issues, additional issues that are hidden will come out. Maybe you’re afraid that if you meet with a therapist the therapist will make you expose your pornography addiction, secret drug use, or spending habits. Or maybe you suspect your partner has something he or she would expose, and you’re afraid to hear it!
This fear can keep couples from getting help. We tell ourselves it’s easier to keep the issue hidden. We also assume the therapist will expose these things before we’re really ready.
3. Couples therapy is vulnerable.
Many couples don’t make the first call because they don’t trust the therapist. They are anxious that the therapist won’t honor the values of the couples, but instead insert his or her own values into the relationship.
So the couple doesn’t move forward. Instead they stay in a position of helplessness, fearful that no one will be able to help.
What couples therapy can do for you.
If you can move past these three fears, there’s possibility for change. Here’s what I see in couples when they take the step and come in to therapy:
- Increased empathy. When we slow down and create space to talk about the relationship, I see couples grow in their connection to the emotions of the other. While the conflict doesn’t immediately go away, there’s a growing sense that the couple sees and understands the experience of their partner.
- Less hot topics. Couples find they have less “hot topics” that drive them apart. More things become talk-able.
- Increased co-regulation. Co-regulation is a word that describes a couple’s ability to manage difficult emotions. When couples feel more connected to each other’s emotions, they also tend to resolve strong emotions well. That means less arguments that resolve in yelling matches or nights on the couch.
Maybe couples therapy is the help you need. Send me an email now, and I’ll help you discern whether couples therapy is right for your situation.