Couples Counseling for One
When your Partner won’t Agree to Counseling
I would like to help you to heal your relationship even if your partner is unwilling or resistant to engaging in the counseling process. Relationships are challenging no matter how much effort and love is poured into them. But what if you want to get help through counseling and your partner is not ready or willing to join you?
The good news is relationships can improve greatly when one partner is willing to come to counseling with the goal of creating a better, more loving and more intimate relationship. I call this “couples for one.”
How does it work?
I will listen to your story, your relationship difficulties and goals and help you to clarify the ways in which the two of you are stuck in unproductive and painful conflicts. I will listen for changes you can make that will not only empower you, but will encourage your partner to respond to you differently, setting the stage for an upward vs. downward spiral in your relationship. I will also help you to clarify, in your own words, what is important to you and what you want so that you will have a clearer and more impactful way of bringing this to your partner in a way that will produce more cooperation and empathy.
When you come to see me, I want to hear about the ways you are dissatisfied, hurt and angry. This will be a very important aspect of our work, however, this alone will not be sufficient. In order to help improve your relationship and heal from past hurts we will also consider that you might be unknowingly behaving in ways that keep you from getting what you want and that keep the two of you stuck in dissatisfaction–you may discover ways that your partner might be inadvertently angry and hurt by what you are doing and how you might benefit from making small but important shifts in your behavior that may help you both. Couples therapy, including “couples for one,” works because it is based on a win/win philosophy in which no one wins if one person is giving up what is important to him or her. Making adjustments is much easier when no one is expected to sacrifice in ways that build resentment.
My experience working with one member of a couple has reinforced that when one person changes or shifts attitudes or behavior (consistent with their own beliefs and values), the other member of the couple will be impacted and will react. Even without your partner’s presence in counseling, you can make shifts in your behaviors and attitudes that will profoundly impact your relationship and move you toward getting more of what you want and need. These shifts can create positive responses in your partner that will improve your relationship and move you toward the connection and satisfaction you are longing for.
Your Partner May Ultimately Join your Therapy
When your partner experiences your shifts in thinking and doing, you may find that he/she will become a willing partner in therapy. Even if this doesn’t occur, you will know that you have made the changes and clarifications that are important to you and you will learn how to talk to your partner in a way that can legitimize what you have been asking for in surprising ways–in other words, you may get more of what you want by being clearer in how you ask and even in your right to ask for it. For example, desperation is never a good way to get compromises or agreements from your partner–any compromises made in these circumstances are almost guaranteed to fail. In our work together, you may discover that you have been asking for change in ways that are unlikely to produce the results you want.
If You’re Ready to Begin…
You have the power today to make changes whether or not your partner is willing to join you in the process. I invite you to call or email me if you would like to make an appointment to begin improving your relationship and to learn more about how I do “couples therapy for one.”