Statistically, couples seek out therapy on average 7 later than they should have. While that may sound daunting, it is never too late to save your relationship – if that is what the both of you want. As with individual therapy, finding the right couples therapist is key. Here are some guidelines to help you do just that:
-You are not looking for somebody to have coffee with so whether or not your therapist is nice has nothing to do with it. By the end of your first session, you should feel like your therapist has a grasp on the problems, has a method to help you solve your problems and that both of you feel comfortable working with him or her.
-Couples therapy is very different from individual therapy and specialized training is required. While most therapists will tell you that they work with couples, ask your therapist what specific training he or she has received. In addition, you don’t want a therapist who practices one specific type of couple’s therapy, you want one with an eclectic therapeutic background. All couples are different and do not all require that same therapeutic approach.
-Couples go into therapy for different reasons. While most are looking for help in bettering their relationship so that they can stay together, some are looking for guidance in ending the relationship in a peaceful way. While most relationships are monogamous, some couples are in open relationships or looking to open up their relationship. Make sure your therapist understands your goals and is aligned with them. Your relationship goals for therapy should be outlined and agreed upon in the first session.
-While it is true that both people contribute to the problems within the relationship, in a couple therapy session, your relationship is the client. Time in the session may not always be split evenly between you and your partner, however if you or your partner feel that the therapist is not being fair or is taking sides, you are with the wrong therapist.
-Nobody knows the dynamics of the relationship better than you and your partner. You may not know how to fix what is wrong but you absolutely know what isn’t working in your relationship. It is essential that both you and partner feel comfortable enough with your therapist to voice your opinions especially if you feel that the therapist’s view of your problems are not accurate.
-Couples therapy and sex therapy are two very different things. If the sexual part of your relationship is where the problems lie, make sure you seek out an AASECT certified sex therapist.
Most importantly, don’t become a statistic. If you feel like the problems in your relationship are too difficult for you to solve on your own, seek out the help of the therapist. It is never too early in a relationship to solve your problems.