With The Right Motivation, Therapy Is Possible For All Couples
When a couple hires a real estate broker, their goal is the same: they both want to buy or sell their house. When a couple hires a babysitter, their goal is the same: they both want to ensure the safety and well-being of their child. Likewise, when a couple goes to the courthouse to obtain a marriage license, their goal is the same: they want to get married. However, when the subject is concerns or problems about intimacy, communications, infidelity, trust, or even the possibility of divorce, both partners/spouses are not always on the same page and at the same time about "what to do about it." What happens in that situation? How does the couple proceed? Is therapy and counseling still possible?
One of the most common questions that is asked of Erica and Eric when a partner or spouse first contacts us is: "I'm ready for therapy but my partner/spouse isn't sure. What can I do?"
What sounds like a simple question doesn't come along with a simple answer. Sometimes the hesitation may stem from that person's past negative or unsatisfying experience with individual or couple's counseling. Sometimes it may be that the partner/spouse is afraid to confront the issues or problems head-on. Other times the partner/spouse may not be experiencing the same issues or problems and, therefore, does not see the impetus for help now.
Unlike buying/selling a house, or hiring a baby-sitter, or deciding to get married - all happy events - the decision to begin couples therapy or marriage counseling can be associated with negative emotions and feel overwhelming. It's very common for a partner or both partners to feel that "oh my god, I can't believe we are that couple or that marriage that needs help" or "I never thought our relationship would be at this point."
We think the better reframed question is: "why did we wait so long - our problems are definitely fixable but we don't know the solutions ourselves."
Focus On The Goals - Not Only The Problems In The Relationship!
Typically, when one partner seeks out a potential therapist to help their relationship, they may seek an individual therapist of the same or different gender. If they are lucky, after researching for hours or days, they may find a male and female pair of therapists to work with. The chances that you will find an experienced Husband and Wife team of Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists who have not only professional experience under their belts, but a lifetime of real experience coping with and overcoming challenges and raising children into their teenage years, is slim to none. That is, unless you were lucky enough to find us - Eric & Erica.
Involving your partner or spouse in the selection process of therapist is an important factor in their motivation for therapy. Reading through our website and articles, watching our videos and reading our FAQs is all part of the process to be motivated for change.
We Believe That Educated & Informed Clients Get The Best Results!
It can certainly be overwhelming to consider couple's therapy or marriage counseling. Men and women are often hesitant to open-up and share intimate details of their relationship with complete strangers. We understand that and respect that reality. It's important to ask the right questions when contemplating couple's therapy. Here are some that you can explore with your not-yet-ready partner:
- Ask them to articulate some reason why are resistive to couples therapy. Perhaps they had a previous negative experience with therapy, either as an individual or with a past partner? Do they think therapy can lead to the end of a relationship or even divorce? See if you can offer some thoughtful and non-defensive responses to their concerns.
- Ask them if they’d be willing to talk to Eric or Erica on the phone. If they feel uncomfortable with making a phone call, we are happy to communicate via text.
- Ask them if they would at least be open to perusing our website and watching our videos, looking at our FAQs or reading our various articles/blog posts?
- Tell them how much it would mean to you if they did some of these things. Tell them how much better it might make you feel, or more hopeful, or happier, or more encouraged.
- Tell them what it would mean to you if they refuse to do some of these things. Tell them how much worse it might make you feel, or less hopeful, or sadder, or more discouraged.
Focus On Addressing Your Partner's Concerns - Not Challenging Them!