Originally posted on PhiladelphiaMFT.com.
One of the questions I receive a lot from couples is if and when do they need to consider scheduling couples therapy. The answer is that it varies from couple to couple. For the most part, therapy is generally viewed as a last ditch effort to keep your relationship from falling apart when in all actually; therapy can be extremely helpful when utilized as a preventative tool in relationships. Here is a short list of some instances (there are many more) when couple’s should consider therapy:
1. When you experience a major life transition.
Life transitions, whether positive or negative, for the most part require an adjustment period until the transition becomes the new normal. Attending therapy can help couples navigate that adjustment period by offering practical tools that allow you to get through that transitional phase. Therapy can provide a space to share concerns about the transition and having a therapist available to you can help you in your efforts to best support each other while adjusting to the changes.
2. A trauma has occurred.
Things like losing a job or experiencing a death of a loved one not only can cause emotional trauma with the person that it happened to but it can also take its toll on the person’s relationships. Trauma often produces feelings of being overwhelmed and emotionally drained and people may not be able to give as much in a relationship during that time. Therapy can be a great way to safely express feelings while the therapist can help foster communication and understanding. It’s a great opportunity for couples to share what they need from the relationship while not making the other person feel criticized or like a failure.
3. There has been some form of trust broken.
When trust is broken in a relationship we can do more harm than good when trying to repair it ourselves. Involving a therapist can help you find the best course of action concerning the rebuilding of trust. Having a therapist navigate the waves of emotion you feel when betrayed and knowing what to do with those emotions is also beneficial. It’s challenging rebuilding bonds after they’ve been broken but you don’t have to go through it alone.
4. The communication is low.
Do you keep having the SAME argument over and over again? Or feel like you and your partner aren’t seeing eye to eye about things? Then this might be a good time to consider scheduling an appointment. The communication between couples could always use some improvement and having an unbiased third party, like a therapist, present can teach couples how to effectively communicate with each other.
5. Whenever you want to!
A common misconception is that therapy is damage control but truthfully it’s a powerful tool that can be used as a preventative measure in your relationships. You can attend therapy whenever you want as a couple, even if you feel like you don’t need it. It can be extremely helpful to discuss topics when the relationship is going well and couples feel secure with their partner. Couples feel less likely to attack, criticize, or personalize what is being said during sessions because they came in secure about the relationship.
A final note to add is that a good therapist isn’t looking to cause trouble in your relationship or break you and your partner up. Our goal is to help you grow together in your relationship and keep it healthy!