In this case, the terms “couples therapy” and “marriage counselling” are very similar. When a couple attends therapy or counselling, it usually is because either a certain aspect of their relationship is not going well or because the relationship itself is at breaking point.
People seek couples’ therapy for many reasons. For example, some come to couples’ therapy because they have found themselves in a rut and, recognizing they have many positive aspects to their relationship, they want to become ‘unstuck’ and bring fulfilment back into their life together. Others come to couples’ therapy because they can’t seem to stop bickering or arguing and feel that if they could just stop, things would be much better between them. Some couples come to therapy because something has happened to betray trust, and they want to find ways to work through it and build trust again. Or it may be that you and your partner may have a completely different reasons for wanting couples’ counselling, in which case, couples’ therapy can help find a way of seeing both perspectives and work from there.
Who should attend? Because couples’ therapy, by definition, involves the couple, it is best that both members come. There is a sound rationale behind this – if I only see one member of the couple, I only get to hear one side of the story. Often, I have found, one member is keen to attend therapy and the other less so. Sometimes, one partner doesn’t want to attend at all. From many years of experience working with couples, I’ve found that the main reason one partner refuses to come to couples’ therapy is because he or she feels they will be judged as ‘the bad one’ in the couple.
“My task is to listen, help, and guide couples to find a better solution...”
My task is not to judge anyone. My task is to listen, help, and guide couples to find a better solution than the ones they have been using. I encourage people to speak openly, in a safe environment, about what is happening for them in the relationship and to explore and mutually agree to new avenues and possibilities. This is best achieved with both partners present. If, however, your partner still refuses to come, please contact me by email and we can consider a way forward.