Relationship counseling, also referred to as couples therapy or marriage counseling, has a bad reputation. For many people, it signifies the beginning of the end. There are dozens of myths and misconceptions surrounding couples therapy. The truth is that having a neutral third party mediate issues can be extremely beneficial. The reason people see it as the “kiss of death” is because they’re starting couples therapy too late. Here are 5 myths about relationship counseling that we would like to debunk.
Here’s a truth that we at Raul J. Rodriguez, MD & Associates really believe: everyone can benefit from therapy. That can be said for couples as well. Relationship counseling isn’t just there to fix issues, it’s there to prevent them from becoming larger problems. Attacking an issue head on prevents it from becoming too big and unmanageable. Couples therapy is great for even the happiest and most functional couples. There will always be problems and there will always be a way to do things better. Therapy can help with both of those things so that things keep moving smoothly.
Often, couples therapy leads to the end of a relationship because it makes both parties realize they either can’t or won’t work on their issues. If discussing your relationship causes it to fall apart, chances are it was going to without therapy anyway. Many couples come to counseling as a last resort, when it’s already too late. That’s why going to therapy consistently and early is the best bet.
Ask any couple who’s been to therapy and they’ll tell you it’s not easy or for the faint of heart. It takes hard work to open up, face problems, and put work into a relationship. Think of your therapist as your relationship coach, someone to guide you through the game and help you execute plays. The same people that think therapy is for the weak are the same people that think that sunscreen isn’t necessary. In both cases, they’ll be the ones ending up burned.
A therapist isn’t a meddler; they’re a mediator. Very rarely will a couples therapist tell a couple what to do, and they’ll never side with one partner over the other. They provide exercises, tools, and guidance on how to communicate and deal with problems. Nothing happens in your relationship unless you want it to. A therapist might recommend an exercise, but if you aren’t comfortable or willing just let them know. Most couple therapists simply work as a mediator, making sure you understand what one another are saying and feeling.
Therapy can be great; it can really help both the individual and the relationship. However, it’s not magic. It’s important to go into therapy with realistic expectations. A therapist will give you tools but it’s ultimately up to you to use them. Don’t give up if one therapist doesn’t work for you either. Every person and couple need different things. Therapy isn’t magic, it’s not one-size fits all, and it ultimately comes down to you to do the work.
Contact us today if you have any questions about relationship counseling or would like to set up a couples therapy appointment