You two have been stuck for a while. You and your partner are having the same arguments, the same frustrations, the same headaches. It seems like your choice is between a screaming match or hours of silence. Finally, you gain the courage to chat with your partner about the potential for couples therapy. You have friends who did it and it was immensely helpful for them. Yet, somehow, this has also ended in a screaming match. We hear you, and we know you don’t want to live like this anymore. Check out the below main questions we get from clients/prospective clients to help your partner understand where you’re coming from a little better. How do I get my partner to hear me when I say I want to go to couples therapy? Start by being crystal clear on what you believe will be helpful about couples therapy. Make a list of what could change if you were going to couples therapy: How would you communicate differently? What would feel different during your day to day? Let your partner know how invested you are, and that you are confident you both can feel better in your relationship. This is a great start to a team focused approach that your couples therapist will definitely highlight! Another idea for broaching the topic of couples therapy is to think about how to position it so your partner does not feel attacked. While it is super frustrating for your partner to not listen when you say you want to go to therapy, pointing this out will probably not motivate them enough to get them in the counseling room. It is really common to use “you” when people are frustrated. Saying something like “you need therapy” is a really effective way to get your partner on the defense mode. Try focusing on your needs instead. “Hey babe, it would mean a lot to me if we could go to couples therapy to work on our relationship together” might not feel as powerful in the moment, but it is much more likely to elicit the response you want than the “You...” approach. What do I do if my partner doesn't want to go to couples therapy?Trust us when we say that both parties are rarely thrilled about being in couples therapy. But listen. Remember that you cannot force your partner to be in couples therapy. All you can do is grow in the ways you can, and hope your partner evolves with you. While it is true you cannot make them go, you can reiterate why it is important to you, and how your life could look different. Use a softened startup to help your partner know what you appreciate about them, and what you feel you both can work on to make your lives better. Another great way to get your feet wet is to take a class or go to a couples workshop! Stay curious about what exactly your partner is hesitant about in attending couples therapy. If they are uncomfortable airing dirty laundry, or talking to a stranger, a couples class/workshop could be an excellent way for you two to just learn about what tools couples therapy can offer you. Check out these other suggestions on what to do if your partner does not want to go to couples therapy. What does the first session look like? The first session is really just designated as a “getting to know you” appointment. The therapist wants to learn about you two and what your relationship trajectory has looked like. With this, it is equally as important that you get to know your therapist, how they work, and how they view couples therapy. Keep in mind that your therapist does not want to solve anything in your first session. Your therapist wants to understand where you two got stuck, and what goals you have for yourselves as a couple and individually. The therapist will need this information for guidance on how to maneuver thoughtful treatment. To get a better understanding of what exactly those first few sessions look like, check out our post. A huge part of any therapeutic process is trust-- in each other, and in your therapist. All parties must work together to assume the best intention from each other. Building trust in your therapist is a crucial part of taking the work seriously, and achieving the goals you are driven towards. So ask questions, and figure out if your therapist is someone you can be comfortable with! What happens if I disagree with my couples therapist? Amazing! If you’re disagreeing with us, that means you’re thinking critically and thoughtfully about couples therapy. The therapist will absolutely say things you disagree with, there is no avoiding this. Your therapist knows about theory, but knows nothing about your relationship until you tell them. Your disagreements are how your couples therapist learns about you. Please let them know when you disagree! Sometimes they may give you push back, and sometimes they may shift. But without the information, they cannot do their job effectively. Check out this post on how to give your therapist feedback. Don’t worry about hurting your therapist’s feelings. They are trained to make it NOT be about them. They want your treatment to be the best it can possibly be-- that is why they went into this field in the first place. Their job is to help you, and in order to best do this, they need all the information possible! *One caveat. Remember- you cannot change their mind, and you cannot force them to attend couples therapy. All you can do is provide your partner with the information they need in order to make an informed decision. Patience, patience, (communication) and patience.