Can Relationship Therapy Make Your Marriage Problems Worse?

Marriage Problems Worse?

Making the decision to go to relationship therapy can be difficult. What can be even more difficult is convincing your spouse to go with you and hanging on to hope your marriage problems will improve. You may have even heard that relationship therapy can make things worse, creating more fear and anxiety about making an appointment, or causing you to question if anything – at all– can help you.

Unfortunately, the success or failure of couples counseling relies heavily on how trained and experienced your therapist is and how willing and ready both people in the relationship are to work and grow together.

The good news is, most of that is in your control. With the right mindset and a qualified therapist, couples counseling is highly effective and provides a lot of self-awareness, communication tools, and strategies to learn how to work as a team.

If you’ve decided that relationship therapy is your next step, there are many options in the Scottsdale area. Finding an experienced therapist who can create a safe and supportive environment may take some time (and possibly trial by error), so don’t get discouraged if you don’t find the best fit right away.

We talked with a couples counselor at a Scottsdale relationship therapy office to understand how to find the right therapist to help better your chances of success.

Your Marriage Isn’t Doomed if You go To Relationship Therapy

Marriage is bliss, sure. But everything goes through ups and downs, which is normal. Totally normal. In fact, most (if not all) marriages will face difficulties at some point. However, when done right, 70% of marriages who go to relationship therapy show signs of positive change.

Not only that, but working together to overcome challenges can be rewarding and even strengthen your bond

Even if your spouse is reluctant at first, going to individual therapy in the meantime can create positive changes in your marriage. So don’t wait.

What to Look For in the Right Relationship Therapist

There are a few important questions people should ask when seeking a therapist. First and foremost, find out how much of their practice is devoted to couples. The approach and dynamic of couples counseling is not the same as individual counseling.

When a therapist experienced in treating individuals brings an individualistic approach to a couples session, it can have detrimental consequences. Couples are a complex system. Relationship therapy works best by focusing on the patterns and behaviors of the couple that are causing distance and separation and then what steps can be taken to change and improve the dynamic.

The following are some relationship therapist red flags:

Appearing to side with one partner over the other Focusing on blame or right/wrong actions Not controlling the session by allowing couples to disrespect each other Failing to provide homework for the couples to work on

There are also some therapy models that work better for couples, like emotionally focused therapy. Finding someone trained in ETF or other relationship based models will also increase your chances of success in therapy.

The key takeaway here is, if you’re ready, willing and have the right support system, relationship therapy can not only help with marriage problems but even improve your connection.

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