Couples therapy can help you turn your relationship around. You’re convinced of it.
Does your partner share your confidence? Not so much. Couples therapy is for couples who need help. Perhaps that’s you and your partner. But, when you’re alone in a counseling session meant for two, it’s only natural to feel let down. Don’t allow your partner’s reluctance to become another obstacle between you.
Use these gentle, affirming tactics to help your partner see the light:
Use positive reinforcement to promote couples therapy:
Mend your own mindset, rather than make demands. No one wants to go to counseling, if they feel like counseling will just add more weight to an already heavy relationship. Try to lighten up a bit, for the sake of forward movement. You may find that your partner will be more open to counseling, if you can take a more positive approach. Try the following positive steps, so that your partner starts feeling better about you, and consequently opens his or her mind to ways of keeping the good times going:
- Build your partner’s self-esteem intentionally. Make sincere attempts to positively reinforce the personal attributes that attract you to your mate.
- Focus less on fixing and more on fun. It’s true: Your relationship has issues, challenges, problems. However, you may find it easier to convince your partner to work on them, by reminding him or her how much you really do like and enjoy each other.
- Laugh a little. Positivity blossoms, and minds open, when humor is interjected into any situation. If there’s any way to infuse more laughter, inside jokes, and playfulness into your interactions, try it. You may see a return to vulnerability and openness that supports an honored request for counseling.
Basically, one of the most convincing things you can do, to convince your partner of the benefits of counseling, is to stop telling and start showing. Nothing sells like results. So, do your best to keep your eyes on your own work, and commit to “couples counseling for one.” Your growth may accomplish the following ends:
- By focusing less on your partner’s attendance, and more on your own progress in sessions, your partner may decide to attend out of curiosity, or a desire to tell “his or her side of the story.”
- By examining your part in your interactions, you will bring fresh eyes, new energy, and an improved outlook to your relationship – further attracting your partner to the counseling process.
- As you feel more confident and empowered, you may feel less inclined to see your partner’s reluctance to attend counseling as rejection, and ease up on attempts to convince him or her of anything but your commitment to your relationship. This may actually draw your partner in, and lead to his or her participation after all.
Practice the effective communication skills you learn on your own in counseling. Resist the urge to be aggressive, pile on pressure, or issue ultimatums. Those tactics will only feel like an ominous indication of what your partner thinks will happen in counseling…an unfair gang up with the help of a paid stranger. Instead focus on the underlying needs that you are both wanting and not getting met or heard. When we can empathize and understand our partners underlying needs they will feel more understood and connected to us.
More compassionate, satisfying conversations will go a long way in reaching and reassuring your partner. Demands, whining, and manipulation will not. As your partner begins to feel safe and understood at home, he or she may feel less threatened about sharing your relationship story with a therapist, and more connected to you. Soon, your partner may feel that counseling isn’t another area of life that won’t meet expectations, but an actual way to foster the relationship he or she wants with you, through loving, honest collaboration.
by CounselingWise on November 15, 2015