Intimate relationships can bring about life’s greatest rewards. But a marriage or long-term relationship that’s in trouble can be a source of chronic pain and stress. Whether you’re facing a major problem such as infidelity or addiction or just looking for a mediator who can help you better manage conflict, couples therapy can help you dramatically improve your relationship.
But a bad therapist can do substantial harm and may even convince you that a perfectly fixable relationship is irretrievably broken. Here are some things to consider when choosing a counselor for you and your partner.
Every relationship has a different level of commitment. People who are dating may be willing to end the relationship if things get too challenging, and even some married couples are willing to move on if the relationship is severely broken. For some couples, though, ending the relationship is not an option.
It’s vitally important to choose a couples therapist who shares your approach to commitment. Some therapists are highly individual-oriented, which means they will prioritize the well-being of individuals over the relationship, and may encourage you to end the relationship if it is interfering with other areas of your life.
If you’re committed to working things out no matter what, though, it’s important that you choose a therapist who shares this orientation and who understands that ending the relationship is not an option.
It’s always important to choose a therapist who shares your most cherished values. A dedicated atheist, for example, is unlikely to do well under the direction of a therapist who incorporates religion into sessions. But when there are two people involved in therapy, it’s even more important to share values with the therapist, because the therapist can help you stay focused on your shared values as a couple.
If gender equality is extremely important to you, a therapist who endorses a more traditional marriage is unlikely to work. Such a therapist may not understand conflicts over chores or time spent with children.
GoodTherapy.org is a leading mental health directory that promotes healthy, empowering, non-pathological psychotherapy practices. Visit GoodTherapy.org to find a therapist that can help you with a variety of issues including women's issues, fertility issues, relationships & marriage, sexuality, eating issues, parenting and much more.