As a marriage and family therapist, I work with couples quite often. My most frustrating cases are those in which the couple comes into the first appointment already broken up. They describe all of the reasons for the dissolution of the relationship, then they look to me as though I can wave a magic wand and fix everything. I talk through the first appointment and we make the second appointment, but almost every time the couple does not return. Couple’s therapy was the last ditch effort to save the relationship and from the point of view of the couple, it didn’t work because they are still broken up at the end of the session.
Here is some advice from a professional about couple’s therapy:
- All of the problems will not go away after the first session! Give it a chance to work, when you have put in some effort!
- Therapy requires work! A therapist guides the process, but the individuals need to implement changes in the weeks between sessions.
- Consider a combination of individual and couple’s sessions, with different therapists for each. This would be the best method for addressing the issues which might stem from one’s history of relationships, perhaps from the family of origin, which are now affecting your relationship.
- Relationships require maintenance in order to function properly! Therapy might be a great place to check out how you and your significant other are dealing with stress in a healthy way. Waiting until you can’t stand each other is waiting too long for therapy!
- Be honest with your therapist! If he or she is not the making realistic suggestions, tell them! More times than not, a therapist needs guidance from the client as to what can work best for their situation! Simply not showing up for the next scheduled appointment does not address the problem, nor does it help your therapist be effective with the next couple or family.