5 Reasons Parents Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Couples Counseling
We like to think that we’ve got everything together, even when we’re running around like headless chickens trying to keep up with our kids, spouse, career, household and everything in between. We end up feeling like we’re stretched too thin and while we can’t afford to take a break from being a parent or having a career, we often end up putting our relationship with our spouses or significant others on the back burner. This can lead to one or both members of the relationship feeling like they’re not important which can build into something even more devastating over time.
We’ve got two words for you — couple’s counseling. If you’re about to close your browser, stick around for a minute and hear us out. Couple’s counseling can be one of the best investments you’ll ever make. Here are a handful of reasons why you shouldn’t be afraid to admit that you and your spouse might need some joint therapy.
1. The Stigma is Disappearing
For decades, the thought of being in couples therapy was something that was whispered behind closed doors and gossiped about at neighborhood block parties. Today, while there is still a significant stigma surrounding mental health and therapy, we’re starting to reach a point where making an appointment with a therapist is no different than making an appointment with your family doctor if you’ve got the flu.
You’re not an outlier for seeking out couple’s therapy. Half the couples (or more) in your kid’s PTA have probably looked into therapy at one time or another, even if they’re not as open about it as they could be. There is nothing wrong with seeking out therapy. Let’s say that again for the people in the back. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH SEEKING OUT THERAPY!
2. It Gives You A Safe Space
Safe spaces get a bad rap for being the tool of the ‘participation trophy’ generation to hide from things that they don’t like or are uncomfortable with, but sometimes you need a safe space to have a non-judgemental conversation with your spouse with someone else in the room that can offer professional insight and tools that you’ll need to figure out how to get past this hurdle in your relationship.
The goal of couple’s therapy isn’t to waste your time and money. It’s to work together to find a solution to your problem so you can move on together in a healthy manner.
3. It Teaches You Tools to Succeed
Couple’s therapy doesn’t end when your session does. Part of the process is learning the tools that you’ll need to manage your differences outside of the therapy room. A therapy session teaches you things that you can take out into the world with you, such as learning how to understand your partner’s world, learn their love language and repair conflicts when they happen.
These are things that every couple could benefit from learning, whether they seek out therapy or not. We can all use a little bit of help sometimes.
4. It Reminds You Why You Got Together
Sometimes, especially when we’re at each other’s throats over something petty like who needs to take the garbage out, it can be hard to remember what brought you together in the first place. When you choose to go to couple’s therapy, one of the first things your therapist will do is get you to talk about how you met, when you got together and why you decided to get married and have kids.
Sometimes all it takes is having an outside observer reminding you of why you got together in the first place. We tend to forget when we’re immersed in a relationship. When things get hard, we focus on the negative and forget to remember all the good times that we’ve had together.
5. It Sets a Good Example
You and your spouse or significant other aren’t the only ones in your household who might need therapy at some point in their lives. If you reach a point where one of your children needs therapy, the fact that you’ve gone to couple’s therapy to work on your differences means you’ve set a good example for them. It shows your kids that going to therapy isn’t a bad thing and that if you need to seek out outside help, you’ve got the option to do so.
Kids don’t do what we tell them most of the time. Instead, they mimic the behavior that they see us performing so if they see us bottling up our emotions until we explode at our spouse, they’re going to do the same thing with their friends or family members. If they see us going to therapy to deal with our issues, they’ll know that asking for help isn’t a bad thing.
Because Sometimes You Just Need Help
When it comes down to it, sometimes you just need help. This doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad parent, regardless of what popular media might tell you. The thing about being is a good parent is that you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. Couple’s therapy is one of the best tools in your arsenal and if you need it, don’t feel bad about asking for help.