It’s easy to feel overburdened and alone when things in your partnership seem to be going wrong.
Arguments with your significant other can become routine and recurring, and even when you want to avoid this conflict, it can be challenging to know how to do so. Over time, this can seriously harm a partnership.
Couples counselling can be beneficial for this reason.
Due to the chaos of life, couples often place their relationship last and find it challenging to carve out time for themselves. However, therapy is a place where two people can come together to concentrate their energy while also working through problems.
But what if you suggest therapy and your partner refuses?
Reasons why your partner might object to therapy
The first step is to understand the reasons why your partner might not want to go to couples therapy. To be supportive, make sure you listen to their concerns, that why you might be able to address some of their worries and find a workaround.
Here are three main reasons they might decline therapy:
Expense – this can be a valid concern, particularly if a lot of your arguments are centred around money.
You could look for a psychologist with lower rates (not all charge the same), consider joining a workshop which are often cheaper or check whether your employer offers an employee assistance program where you can access limited sessions for free.
In addition, it’s helpful to consider couples therapy an investment in your relationship and think about this cost spanning over the years that you have been together and hopefully will stay together, happy.
Embarrassment – a lot of people don’t fancy the idea of discussing their ‘dirty laundry’ with another person, let alone a stranger. Your partner may feel your relationship challenges should be kept private.
If this is the case, try to be compassionate. It is understandable to be worried about opening up about difficult issues to a stranger, it is common to feel that way as its part of our human nature, however so is wanting to have a good connection with our partner, and therapy will help with that.
Past experiences – maybe they’ve had a bad experience in the past. This can be hard to combat. However, remind them that you don’t have to stay with a therapist that you don’t connect well with.
If either of you don’t feel comfortable during your session, you don’t have to continue. You can look for another therapist who is better suited. At Positive Mind Works, we offer reallocation with no questions asked – as we know how important it is to feel at ease with your psychologist.
How do you get a reluctant partner to come to therapy?
It is never a good idea to force your partner or bribe them into joining you for couples therapy. The aim is to get your partner to see the importance of this for your relationship, so they willingly come along and are ready to work to make improvements. You could see if your partner is willing to compromise and try just a few sessions (or even just one) – with the understanding that they can end it anytime if they feel uncomfortable.
With that in mind, here are a few points that can help:
- Question their objections to couples counselling. Did they previously have a negative counselling experience? Do they believe that counselling causes divorce? This is important because you may be able to address their concerns and reassure them.
- Try to find out their preferred type of therapy by asking them. A man? a female? Which race? Psychologist? Family and marriage counsellor?
- Find out where they would be most comfortable going. Which date? When is it? Try to be flexible. This is where online therapy excels, as you can both join sessions from different locations if your schedule is hectic or even from the comfort of your own home. It may be useful to see if they would consider online therapy instead.
- Do you research and then ask if they’d be happy to look at few therapy websites/psychologist profiles you’ve found.
- We offer a 20-minute initial trial appointment, ask if your partner would be willing to ‘try out’ therapy with this brief, no pressure session.
- Ask them if they’d be willing to look over a book that a therapist has written or maybe a blog post.
- Let your partner know just how much it would mean to you if they did accompany you. Tell them how much better it might make you feel, or more hopeful, or happier, or more encouraged.
- On the other hand, also explain how it will make you feel 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.
Couples therapy can be a game-changer for your relationship, even if things seem to be going well. But it takes two to make it happen. If your partner is hesitant to give it a shot, try to have a conversation about why. Armed with that information, you’ll likely be able to figure out a path forward that works for both of you.
If you would like to book a couples session, we have a number of experienced couples therapists on our team. Give us a call on 1800 327 477 (AU) / 0800 327 477 (NZ) Press 1 for psychology. Alternatively, drop us an email at email@example.com and our team will respond as soon as possible.