Why You Should NOT Be Afraid of Couples Therapy
I can’t count how many times a client has told me, “I’m afraid of couple’s therapy because everyone ends up divorced.”
What sounds better: not addressing the real issues in your relationship and distancing yourself from each other day after day, or sitting with your spouse in therapy, and staying committed to the marriage? One of the misperceptions of marriage counseling is: “we have so much on our plate and I don’t see how we are going to make it. What if we just can’t handle the problems if we talk about all of them, plus how we feel?” Whatever stress your relationship is enduring, for example, in-laws, infidelity, kids, money, etc. is actually a blessing in disguise. The more stress that pops up, the more you can turn to one another in therapy and connect on a deeper level. It’s a matter of how you see things. Every time an external stressor pops up in my marriage, it inevitably always brings us closer. This is what I tell my clients: just wait and sit through the process, it will start to feel amazing – and 95% of the time it does! Here are 3 main benefits of couple’s therapy:
- Developing a deeper connection: couples that avoid expressing themselves to their partner are setting up for the two of them to grow apart. An effective couples therapist will help the two of you express your emotions in a way that brings you closer verses pulling away from each other.
- Learn how to be strategic: research has shown that 69% of problematic issues in relationships will not get resolved; therefore it is imperative that you both learn how to manage them before the problems take over your relationship.
- Regulate and De-escalate stress: once your heart rate exceeds 100 beats per minute your prefrontal cortex shuts down and you enter the fight-flight-freeze state. In therapy, you will be conscious of your triggers, understand why it triggers you, and learn how to manage the trigger before you fight, flight, or freeze. One toxic dynamic in a relationship is the harsh complaint that triggers the harsh reaction. It’s hard to not get overwhelmed when you feel attacked, yet it is crucial to monitor conflict before it’s too late for repair.
This is why you should NOT be afraid of couples therapy. Word of the wise: go early instead of waiting several years into the marriage.