How to Ask your Partner to Go to Couples Therapy- in 8 Steps

how to ask your partner to go to couples therapy

You’ve been thinking about couples therapy and know that you and your significant other could benefit from having a space to talk through some problems and reconnect. But you aren’t sure what your partner would think about it, and the idea of broaching the topic is scary and unsettling.

Couples therapy is a form of mental health therapy that focuses on how individuals function in relationships. Instead of zooming in on mental health diagnoses, couples therapists zoom out to look at the patterns of communication in relationships. They can help you identify where you and your partner keep getting stuck and help you interact more effectively.

There are plenty of negative views about therapy in general. The idea of letting a third party observer into your relationship might feel scary or intrusive.

You may even wonder if you really need a professional therapist, or if you can just try to figure things out on your own.Contrary to what you might think, therapy is not only for couples who are on the brink of divorce.

  • Help you understand your relationship dynamic
  • Develop better communication skills
  • Clarify your shared values
  • Reconnect and strengthen your bond

Working on these goals, all of which are crucial for the strength of your relationship, requires intention and certain interventions or techniques. Because you and your partner are so close to each other, you have a huge impact on each other emotionally. Which can make it hard to see the places you are getting stuck or are operating ineffectively.

A neutral, trained couples therapist will offer a nonjudgemental ear to help you look closely at what isn’t going right. They will also offer evidenced-based strategies and techniques to help you build to where you want to go.

As human beings, we are hard-wired to connect with other people on a deep level. The strength of our close relationships becomes one of the greatest assets to support us through the challenges we all will face in this lifetime.

Likewise, when things aren’t going well in our close relationships, we suffer in our families, work, and places as well.

Couples counseling will help you to nurture this bond that supports each of you through the phases of your life.

The success of a therapy session and on couples counseling overall rides on each partner’s commitment and involvement in the process. The idea of asking your partner about going to therapy might feel intimidating and scary.


How to Ask Your Partner to Go to Couples Therapy

Here are our tried-and-true tips to support you in asking your partner to go to couples therapy- a truly transformational step in your relationship and your life.

The way and the time that you bring up the idea of couples therapy is important. If you think the idea of going to couples therapy might face fear or resistance from your partner, you want to make sure that you do not broach the topic at a time when their defenses are already up, like, right after or in the middle of a fight.

If they are feeling defensive, they will be less likely to consider or take in new information or ideas.

Ask your partner to go to couples therapy at a time when things are calm. Wait for high emotions to settle after a fight.

If it feels like life is too crazy and you can’t figure out where that moment of conflict is, share with your partner that you’d like to talk with them and work together to find a time that works for you both.

Make sure you are regulated and calm when you approach this topic. Just like we don’t want your partner to be already emotionally activated when having this conversation, we don’t want you to be either!

If you normally try to problem solve when you are upset, suggesting something like therapy during a fight, make a decision to do something different, and not react when you are upset.

Plus, if you use couples therapy as a demand when you are upset, it becomes more of something your partner will feel like they have to do, versus something you both decide, together, will be good for you.

The conversation of couples therapy is sacred for your relationship and should be approached when you are thinking clearly.

how to ask partner to go to couples therapy

Couples counseling can support you wherever you are in your relationship and level of conflict, as long as both partners are willing to give it a try. While counseling is necessary for issues like can a marriage survive infidelity, couples therapy for young couples will build a strong foundation.

As soon as you sense disconnection or disruption in your relationship that feels out of your norm, you should start getting ready to broach the topic with your partner.

Like anything else, the longer you wait to let things get worse and try and fix them on your own, the harder (and longer, and more expensive) it will be to heal your relationship in therapy.

how to ask your partner to go to couples therapy

Often, couples going to therapy view therapy as a way to fix one of the partners. You might be so sure that your partner is the problem, and that if they could only [insert thing you want them to do differently], your relationship would be fine.

This approach is sure to be met with defensiveness and resistance. Instead, be open to the idea that both you and your partner contribute to the dynamic that you have. Together, you can both be part of the solution.

Including your partner in therapy increases the sustainability and success of treatment. Share with them how important they are to you and how much you want to grow in this space together.

how to ask your partner to go to marriage counseling

Typically, people are in committed relationships because they have the belief, conscious or not, that life is better managed with the support of a partner than without. When you and your partner can turn toward each other instead of turn away from each other when life gets tough, you are so much better equipped to face whatever life throws your way.

Approach the start of relationship counseling as another one of those parts of life. Instead of turning away from each other when things feel tough in your relationship, maybe by going to therapy on your own or trying to ignore all your problems, start making the first move to turn toward your partner.

Talk about the start of marriage counseling as a way that you want to work through your issues, together, as a united front- not as a way that you want to work against them or prove to a couples therapist that you are right.

how to ask your partner to go to couples therapy

Relationship counseling is super vulnerable. And asking your partner to go to marriage counseling with you is asking them to expose themselves to a therapist, and to you. Offer that vulnerability back to your partner. And share with them how you are feeling, what you want out of couples counseling, and why this is important to you.

It’s incredibly important when speaking vulnerably that you aren’t coming from a place of anger. That will be met with more defensiveness. Instead, show them your soft side and invite them to do the same. Speak from your own experience and perspective, and avoid telling them all the reasons you think they need to change. Tell them what you hope to get out of a therapy session.

how to ask your partner to go to marriage counseling

Couples therapy can be a really scary idea. Especially for people who aren’t used to talking to others about how they feel. Try to hear them out if they are hesitant.

There can also be cultural factors and stigmas when approaching therapy. You want this conversation to be approachable. You will likely need to revisit it a few times before you get started.

Create a safe space for vulnerabilities by letting however they feel be okay. If you react to resistance with a stronger push, you are only going to get more resistance back.

how to ask partner to go to marriage counseling

Research shows that the factor that most predicts whether therapy is successful is the trust and rapport between client and therapist. Your choice of therapist is super important.

Most therapists offer free introduction calls to make sure you are a good fit before you schedule an intake. Schedule this call at a time you and your partner can both join and see if you both vibe with them. Your partner is way more likely to buy into the process if they also feel connected to and understood by your therapist.

how to ask your partner to go to couples therapy

How to Find a Couples Therapist

A google search for a couples therapist provider in your area (for marriage counseling, couples counseling, relationship counseling, or couples therapist) or an online directory like Psychology Today are great places to start your search.

Before scheduling an intake session, here are some questions you can ask the provider to see if they would be a good fit for you:

  • How do you view problems in couples?
  • What is your approach to treatment in couples work?
  • How will we know if we are getting better?
  • How long does treatment usually last?
  • What can I expect in a typical session?

You don’t have to be an expert on these areas. But the therapist should make you both feel safe about the space they will offer and clear about the next steps.

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