Sometimes with the best will in the world our partner refuses to do couple therapy. You know that the time has come to make some changes as your relationship is in trouble. You have asked nicely, you have cajoled and still your partner wont budge.
There are a number of reasons they may not want to join you – too busy, tried it before and it didn’t work, they hope that things will just blow over or perhaps they cant see how a stranger can help. Before you start thinking you are sunk with no way out of your situation; there is another way and that is to go by yourself.
There is simply no upside to dragging a reluctant partner to therapy as the process can be easily derailed and sabotaged. It may be time for you to take back your power and start the process by yourself. Going alone does not say that you are the “problem” but it does say that you are prepared to do what ever it takes.
Relationship issues don’t belong to just one person but to “the relationship” which you both are equally responsible for. Deciding to get support is simply saying I am willing to make the first move. Taking personal responsibility may feel unbalanced but the extraordinary thing is that each little shift that you make will have an impact on your relationship system.
What we understand in systemic therapy is that any shift will make a shift in the whole. This is true for all systems, whether it is an ecosystem or a flow diagram. So as you work towards supporting yourself in making healthy changes in your relationship, it will inevitably make changes within your relationship as a whole. As you start relating differently so will your partner.
The key to success here is to choose a therapist who is trained in relationship work. It is vital that the therapist does not take sides but has the ability to think in terms of what is in the best interests of the relationship. One of the most powerful things to do is to reach out for support. Doing nothing simply means nothing will change.
Pam Custers is an experienced therapist working with individuals, couples and families. MA. BA (Psych) Hons and is a RELATE trained.
MBACP (accredited). Contact 07572 841 388, www.pamcusters.co.uk