Couples Vs. Individual Therapy: Some Things to Consider
If you are married or in a committed relationship, it can be difficult to know whether to pursue individual or couples therapy. In general, if both people are willing to attend therapy, I most often recommend couples therapy.
Even if one person feels that the problems in the relationship are more a result of difficulties they are experiencing or a traumatic event they went through, having your partner in therapy with you allows them to learn your needs and additional ways they can support you.
In my experience as a therapist, most often it is not a problem with an individual in the relationship but more-so a pattern of interactions between the two people that is maintaining the problem or causing both people to feel they are not getting their needs met. Having both people in therapy helps each partner to learn their role in the problematic interactions and learn to talk to one another in a vulnerable and gentle way even at times of conflict.
I work with individuals on a wide range of issues. Some of these individuals are in a committed relationship, but come to therapy on their own to gain a better understanding of issues they are struggling with or to receive help in learning how to more effectively manage their emotions and achieve their personal goals. Some individuals come to therapy to process a recent end of a relationship or are in between relationships and wanting to work on themselves. No matter why you are considering individual therapy, I will work with you to help you get to a better place.
Some common reasons people seek individual therapy are:
- Loss of a loved one or loss of a relationship
- Coping with divorce and learning ways to co-parent
- Sexual addiction or compulsive behaviors
- Processing a traumatic event
- Understanding and working through feelings around childhood and family experiences
- Anger management / Emotion regulation
- Support in recovery from substance abuse
- Support during major transitions in life
Couples come to therapy at a variety of times in their relationship. Some couples seek therapy early in their relationship when they encounter a "bump" in the road and need to get back on track. Some couples seek therapy after a major change or a traumatic event in their lives, while other couples come at a time of crisis in their relationship or following years of difficulties communicating when they feel they are at their breaking point. No matter how big or small the difficulties you are having in your relationship, therapy can be a very powerful tool to getting back the relationship you once had with one another or getting you the relationship you always wanted with your spouse or significant other.
Some common reasons people seek couples therapy are:
- Premarital counseling
- Learning healthy communication skills
- Addiction or substance abuse
- Sexual difficulties or sexually impulsive behaviors
- Parenting difficulties
- Loss of connection with one another
- Lack of intimacy / "Roommate relationship"
- Unresolved hurt or anger