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Is it still worth it?

Can only one person do "couples counselling"?



In a word, no. To gain the full benefits of couples counselling you need all involved parties to participate in some way. Whether the sessions involve everyone in the same room, (or same video call), or in separate rooms ( or zoom breakout rooms ), for an authentic couples therapy experience everyone needs to consent to the process and their involvement.


Does this mean that therapy is not worthwhile if your partner will not attend with you?


My answer to that is that therapy is always worthwhile...as long as you are wanting to participate in the process yourself.


As a therapist, of course it would just make sense that I value therapy and I encourage it for all. But this is not just because this is my career. I have used therapy throughout various stages of my life, as a student to help with the pressures of post secondary education to as an adult to help process and work through various life stressors. It can help to have a neutral person to bounce ideas off of and talk through your "stuff". There is also evidence that couples counselling can have positive outcomes for couples.


It would be unwise to try to use couples counselling, to try to get another person to change. To use it as a means of getting your partner to see things your way. Instead, couples counselling can be used as facilitated conversation between you and your partner, to process and work through difficulties and find solutions that will work for everyone.


Even if your partner is unwilling to attend, individual counselling can help the willing participant to work through various struggles and issues and gain insight into their own role in the problems and perhaps their own role in the solutions. You cannot change another person but you can attempt to gain understanding of your own patterns of behavior, patterns of communication, and perhaps come up with a strategy that can help you manage decisions you are facing work towards a healthier, happier you.


And yes, you are worth it.


Here are some good reads on what to do if your partner is hesitant to attend couples therapy:






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