You know that you and your spouse or partner are having problems. You want to go to therapy to try to work things out, but your partner refuses. This can be an extremely frustrating situation. It may be of some benefit to go to therapy on your own, but working through couples’ problems typically requires cooperation and effort on the part of both partners.
On the other hand, pressuring or manipulating your partner into therapy against his will might do more harm than good. A better option is to try to persuade your partner to go to therapy. Here are some ideas for how to do this in a respectful way.
1. Change the Wording
Simple words have powerful connotations, both positive and negative. Some people feel intimidated by words like “therapist,” “therapy,” or “counseling.” You may have more success persuading your partner if you change your semantics to use words with less of a negative charge. For example, instead of using the term “therapy,” you could refer to it as “relationship coaching.”
2. Listen to and Validate Your Partner’s Concerns
If your partner refuses to go to therapy, ask her why. Your partner may be afraid that the therapist will side with you, and that she will be expected to take all the blame. She may have had a bad experience with a counselor in the past.
Your partner may also have come from a background in which seeking psychological help was considered a sign of weakness. He may believe that couples’ therapy leads inevitably to divorce. Whatever your partner’s concerns, listen to them with openness and non judgment. Validate his feelings by mirroring him, i.e., stating his concerns back to him. Once your partner realizes that you understand his point of view, he may be more receptive to listening to yours.
3. Seek Alternative Resources
Couples’ therapy represents a significant investment in terms of both time and money. Your partner may be unwilling to commit to it if she does not have faith that it can work. You can suggest that you explore the process through alternative means in which the stakes are lower. For example, you can suggest reading a book or a blog by a marriage counselor or couples’ therapist. You may also be able to find online recordings of lectures that the therapist has given in the past. These may be available for free or at a reduced cost. These resources can help you and your partner see what therapy has to offer without a significant upfront investment.
When you are ready, a therapist, like a therapist in Palatine, IL from Lotus Wellness Center, would be happy to see you and your partner to explore how we can help. Contact an office for appointment information.