Making The Most Out Of Couples’ Therapy

Common obstacles in couples’ therapy and how to overcome them.

Therapy 11th Sep, 2021

Couples’ therapy can help improve relationships in many ways. It is an excellent method to resolve conflicts, communicate effectively, understand each other better, and strengthen emotional connections and bonds. Throughout the therapy process however, couples can encounter obstacles that hinder their progress. Likewise, plenty of couples have inaccurate assumptions about how therapy works, which can ultimately cause problems for them. If you are looking for some therapy advice, here you have some of the most common obstacles that couples face when attending therapy: 

1. Hoping That Therapy Changes The Other Partner: 

When couples receive marital therapy, they want to change. Sometimes however, what they really want is the treatment to change their partner’s behaviour. They may wish the therapist, for example, to change their partner’s eating or smoking habits. In couples’ therapy, the goal is to improve the relationship, with both parties having to make changes to improve the relationship. In order for the therapy to be successful, both of you need to change your mentality and behaviours. 

2. Not Accepting Their Mistakes: 

Another common obstacle is not taking responsible for your mistakes in the relationship’s issues. To most people, couples’ therapy usually looks like a court of law. That’s because both parties are trying to communicate their thoughts, but at the same time wanting the other’s approval and feedback. Likewise, there is plenty of guilt going around, and partners usually get on the defensive and want to blame each other for their problems. For couples’ treatment to be effective though, both parties must acknowledge how they contributed to the problem and work to change their behaviour. 

3. Keeping Secrets: 

Some couples start hiding secrets from each other, like an affair or addiction. When partners keep secrets from their spouses while undergoing couples’ therapy though, they are deceiving themselves and their family members, and creating obstacles for real change. If you keep secrets from your spouse, it will go against your relationship. Secrets will weaken trust in the marriage. Secrets can create thick walls that counteract interpersonal interactions. Although you don’t need to share all of your secrets, it is best to reveal and resolve the secrets currently affecting your relationship. 

4. No Follow-Up: 

Any couple can agree on what needs to be changed in the relationship, but it can be challenging to follow up or apply practical techniques in real life. To avoid this obstacle, couples must learn to be patient with each other and work as a team. Learn to recognise and express yourself when emotions are overwhelmed. One great tip to follow is to just talk it over with your partner when you feel overwhelmed.  

5. Being Suspicious Of The Process: 

Couples may either enter therapy to receive a quick resolution, or have the doctor tell them what to do, but in order to improve their relationship, couples need to trust the treatment process. To truly find the source of the marital conflict and start the healing process, you will need to invest time and commit to learning each other’s vulnerabilities and to express your feelings. 

6. Not Wanting To Try Therapy: 

Setting high expectations for therapy can have a positive effect on your relationship, but if you don’t trust the end result, you won’t improve anything. If the conflict has a negative impact on your marriage and does not go away, seek help as soon as possible. Avoid waiting for a miracle to happen on its own. If you seek treatment as a last resort, you may be too late. Couples should use therapy to weigh their options, resolve some conflicts, and, if the time comes, plan a structured separation to keep their relationship civilised and functional.

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