Couples Therapy: When Should You Skip It?

Couples Therapy: When Should You Skip It?

Our philosophy on couples therapy, is that relationships are best worked on one person at a time. We know that anytime one partner changes, it’ll cause the entire relationship to change. Just how this dynamic will evolve is unpredictable –the only sure thing is that it won’t remain the same. It’s that simple. Period.

Individual issues like jealousy, perfectionism, anger, anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, lack of sex drive, and fear of abandonment usually come from something that happened in the past. Past experiences can serve to strengthen limiting beliefs like, I’m unlovable, I’m going to be abandoned, or I’m not good enough. When the person’s past is dealt with, so is the extra stress on the relationship. Consequently, the energy you put into getting rid of your limiting beliefs, not only benefits you, but it also benefits your relationships.

After you’re done working through your stuff, you’ll approach life differently–you’ll live differently, love differently, and interact with others differently. Will it all be roses and sunshine? Hell no. Life will still have its bumps; the difference is that you’ll navigate the bumps with more skill and finesse than the times before.

Individual Therapy vs. Couples Therapy

1. The success rate of couples counselling is low. Dr. Baucom studied the outcome rates of couple counselling and found that 50% of people who go to couples counselling end the relationship (same as the national divorce average), 25% reported they felt worse off, and 15-18% reported improvement.

2. You’re the one wanting and willing to change, but that doesn’t mean your partner is ready or willing. Coercing someone into therapy never works–ever. If it’s your idea to go to counselling, then lead by example and get your own work done.

3. If you break the power of limiting beliefs in your own life, even if the relationship ends, you haven’t lost who you are or the work you’ve completed. You will reap the rewards of your hard work in the future right relationship.

We’re not here saying that couples therapy is a waste of time. Obviously, some couples benefit. We’re saying that the couples who benefit are the exception, not the rule.

5 Things that Indicate You’re the Exception

1. The relationship is under 6 years old.
2. All partners are equally and highly committed to the relationship.
3. Gender roles are fluid. The less stereotypical your relationship roles, the better.
4. There is no history of relationship violence between you and your partner.
5. Neither partner is struggling with an addiction. Or, if a partner is struggling, that partner is attending individual therapy.

Couples who have less distress are the ones who do better in couples therapy. Even if you checked the box in all of the above categories, it doesn’t mean that couples therapy will be effective. What might end up happening is that your relatively stable pattern of discontent gets magnified through the lens of couples therapy. It’s a real risk.

Regardless of what you decide we’re here to help!

It’s true that we don’t offer couples therapy, but because we value the need for healthy relationships, we offer couples a risk-free consultation. At this consultation, we’ll provide you with professional recommendations, resources, and, if wanted a referral to an excellent couples therapist. Contact us to arrange your risk-free consultation!

Written By

Picture of Robin Chamberlain

Robin Chamberlain

Robin, lead psychologist and CEO at Unstuck Psychological, utilizes her extensive experience to foster meaningful change in clients’ lives. Her approach combines kindness, evidence-based strategies, and creative expertise for effective therapy.