Better Off Going To Couples Counseling Alone?

Better Off Going To Couples Counseling Alone? In the 25 years that I’ve been working with couples I find it challenging to work with partners who are resistant and argumentative. They drain me of my own energy. I can imagine what they do to their partners. In the first session I can detect a resistant partner. They do more talking than listening and they tend to say “yes, but” after everything I say. They seldom let the other partner talk and sometimes it becomes a screaming match. I bring to their attention that both their perspectives are correct and not to turn discussions into power struggles.

unhappy couple in couples counseling

Couples counseling can be highly effective. Partners must be able to recognize and admit when their actions or expectations are unreasonable. It takes some insight to be able to do that. Bad signs that some aren’t able to do that is when they do a “rage quit” where they walk out of session yelling and sometimes crying because they can’t take constructive criticism. During the counseling process I assess whether that partner is capable or incapable of gaining insight. Some clients can’t or won’t adjust their behavior. If they won’t I find out why they won’t as they do have a choice. If they can’t I assess whether or not their is a psychological challenge (code for mental disorder) that prohibits understanding reality vs. “their reality.” If a mental illness does exist, prognosis is poor as people with mental disorders don’t see their shortcomings as irregular (ego syntonic) which means their reality is the only thing that registers to them as it’s part of their personality.

If this is the case, you’re better off going to counseling alone. The partner who continues through Marriage Counseling for One, can acquire the tools to help the relationship move forward. Implementing the newly acquired tools role models for the resistant partner what is appropriate and effective. Since individuals can only control themselves they can get the relief they need to cope when challenges exist. Couples Counseling for One does focus on the Relationship, not the Individual and adapt couples counseling techniques for use with one spouse only.  Relational skills training is received by the one spouse and then teaches those skills to their partners behaviorally through day to day interaction.

Effective couples counselings requires both participants to reflect on his or her beliefs, behaviors, and impact on the other.

For more information on couples counseling for one or marriage counseling for one contact me at (858) 735-1139 visit my website at


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