Three myths about couples therapy
What, are they going to couple therapy? Then the relationship is probably in the can! That's how many people think. Three chilling myths about couples therapy - and how much of it is actually true
Who likes to tell a stranger about intimate details of their life? When two people decide to go into couples therapy, it is a bold move. For many, however, the inhibition threshold is very high. Why actually?
Holly Parker is a psychologist and lecturer in couple psychology at Harvard, USA. It deciphered in the magazine Psychology today (Issue 03/2021) some of the myths surrounding relationship work.
Myth 1: the last resort
Many people think that couples therapy is only justified when a separation or divorce is on the horizon. Studies show, however, that only a minority of couples in therapy have doubts about the continuation of their relationship.
About half of the study participants stated that their motive for therapy was that they wanted to better manage their constant conflicts. More than a quarter of couples said their bond ties were still strong - they just wanted some kind of refresher.
Holly Parker's conclusion, "Relationships don't have to be one foot in the grave or serious trouble to consider therapy."
Myth 2: be careful, combat zone
Some people are afraid that they will be accused and attacked in couples therapy - and understandably no one feels like it. However, professionally led therapy is not about ugly arguments. To be successful, the "therapeutic alliance" is important - an emotional alliance between the therapist and the two people who make up the couple. In fact, it's not about "two against one."
Myth 3: be careful, meddle
Another reservation against the therapy: someone stranger comes along and tinkers with our inner workings as a couple - how is that supposed to work? We have to solve our problems ourselves!
Parker counters this: Couples are not always able to see the broad context of their conflict from their internal perspective. The harmless argument about washing up may be about something completely different. An outsider's top view can help because it expands the field of vision.
According to Parker, nothing speaks against using the services of a "relationship plumber" - because you also go to a doctor, a fitness trainer or a nutritionist.