For many couples, deciding to go for therapy is a difficult but necessary step toward fixing their relationship. A professional psychotherapist offers a neutral environment to talk about issues they’re unable to discuss on their own or to calmly talk about how they could amicably split.
However, certain misconceptions about the therapy’s effectiveness and purpose may prevent some couples from seeking it. To set things straight, we’re disproving some of the most common preconceived notions about couples psychotherapy.
Myth #1 - Infidelity and financial disagreements are the only reasons couples get psychotherapy
Couples don’t go to therapy only because one partner has cheated or because they have financial disagreements. Indeed, couples who have issues in these areas should consider counseling, but many couples go to therapy for a far more common problem: communication issues.
Based on one recent study, the lack of proper communication is the main cause of marriage breakdowns. Without proper communication, couples tend to tackle issues with combativeness, anger, and passive-aggressive tactics.
Counseling also helps couples who are going through major life transitions like changing jobs, caring for aging parents, or dealing with a death in the family. During these events, one or both partners may be unable to articulate how they feel, which could affect the relationship long term. A psychotherapist can help them by providing a platform where they can openly discuss these potentially relationship-harming events.
Sensitive issues including a partner’s mental health problems and lack of intimacy are also some of the reasons couples seek therapy. In other words, couples may seek therapy for a variety of reasons beyond infidelity and money issues.
Myth #2 - Couples therapy has a low success rate
It’s understandable that some people are skeptical about the effectiveness of couple’s therapy, but the American Psychological Association finds it 75% effective. The success of therapy also depends on several factors such as how deep a couple’s problems are and whether they’ve chosen a therapist who is experienced with their particular marital issues.
Myth #3 - It takes too long to see results from therapy
For some couples, a few weeks or months may be enough, while for others it may take years. The truth is that the pace of progress will vary for different couples, simply because marital problems have varying levels of complexity.
For example, a couple who is dealing with issues of infidelity might require more sessions than those dealing with a loss of intimacy. The success of therapy also depends on other factors such as the couple’s attitude toward the therapy and how committed they are to meeting their goals.
Myth #4 - Therapy provides an opportunity to assign blame
It’s imperative that a therapist hear both sides without taking sides. A skilled therapist knows how important it is to let the couple hear each other’s point of view and ensure they communicate in a non-aggressive manner. Although therapy sessions are an ideal time to discuss sensitive issues, couples should try not to focus on finding fault and assigning blame.
Myth #5 - It’s impossible to find a therapist that’s right for you
There are challenges to finding the right therapist, but the right one is almost certainly available somewhere in your town. To make sure a therapist is a good fit for you, do some research. During the initial consultation (via phone call or in person), pay attention to the psychotherapist’s communication style and determine whether the therapist is a good fit for your specific issues and for you and your partner’s personalities.
In the face of seemingly insurmountable relationship or marital issues, a couple can benefit immensely from the guidance of an unbiased certified psychotherapist. If you and your partner need to take that first step in mending your relationship, don’t hesitate to call us in Chicago, Evanston, or Lake Forest to take that first step.