Let me put the question to you… what do you think it says about your relationship when you decide to pursue couples therapy? Does it mean your relationship is thriving or failing? In your opinion, is the purpose of couples therapy to deepen an already solid relationship? Or is it meant to salvage a relationship riddled with resentment and on the cusp of breakup?
If you have been debating if couples therapy is right for you, you have probably been waiting too long.
According to research conducted by Dr. John Gottman, relationship and marriage expert and founder of The Gottman Institute, on average, couples wait six years of being dissatisfied in a relationship before getting help. Six years.
Anecdotally, I find this to be true of the couples I see in my office. Too often, I hear that going to counseling is a couples' last-ditch effort to make things work. The consultation usually begins with, "our relationship was really in trouble, so we finally decided to get help..."
I’m going to offer you an alternative perspective—couples therapy as preventive care.
Like all good health care, preventive care is the best care.
Couples therapy is not only appropriate when you are about to throw in the towel. Let's catch toxic patterns early. Let's explore positive methods of communication and connection when things are good, not dire. I want to help you keep your passion ignited and friendship strong because it is much more effective, not to mention easier, to build on a foundation of trust and mutual respect than one of broken trust and deep resentment.
Lets change the way we see couples therapy-- as an indication of health in a relationship, not illness. Pursuing couples therapy is sign that you care about your partnership enough to warrant methods of early detection and preventive care.
Couples therapy can offer extra benefits in advance of significant life transitions. Click to learn more about premarital counseling and pregnancy/postpartum counseling for new parents.
Dr. Ayelet Krieger is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified yoga teacher who is dedicated to helping you live mindfully to beat stress and maximize joy. Click here to learn about services offered at Oasis Therapy Center and click here to schedule your free consultation.