• Help Me Help You

    Help Me Help You

    Making the decision to engage in couples therapy can be difficult. You might feel it’s an admission that you’re somehow failing as a partner, or that your partner is failing you. But reaching out for professional help is a positive step — it means you care about the relationship.


    Having made the decision to work on your relationship, how do you make the most of couples therapy? Therapists aren’t magicians. And it’s not the therapist’s job to “fix” your relationship. No one but the two people in the relationship can do the work necessary to heal a couple’s bond; but a therapist can offer tools and a neutral perspective to help facilitate positive change. Here are things you can do to help the therapist help you and boost your chance of success.


    • Establish relationship goals that you both agree on. That could be as simple as “be more honest with each other about our feelings,” or even “not argue so much.”
    • Being honest, but compassionate, is foundational. Don’t berate your partner, but also don’t “hold back” because you’re worried you might make your partner feel bad or look bad in front of the therapist.
    • Listening is just as important as venting or talking about what you’re dissatisfied with. Be open and receptive, and actively listen to what your partner — and the therapist — says without becoming overly defensive.
    • Couples therapy differs from other kinds of treatment in that the “patient” is not one person — but the relationship itself. No one should be there to “win.” So, no score-keeping and no courting favor, hoping the therapist will take “your side.” You don’t have a side; both partners should be on the side of the relationship.
    • Pick a good time for your sessions and arrive rested, focused and prepared to engage in some difficult work — preferably not when you’re too drained or stressed out from daily activities.
    • Be committed to doing what’s necessary to reach your goals. That means doing homework between sessions when asked — it’s an important part of making progress in treatment.
    • Ask good questions. If the therapist says something that you don’t agree with, ask for a clarification or explanation. It’s also OK to request advice directly if you need it: “If the way I handled that isn’t working, what could I do differently next time?”


    One unique aspect of couples therapy is that both partners have to establish a productive working relationship with the therapist. If, after a time, one of you feels it isn’t a good fit, consider changing therapists — but first, make sure you’re both doing the work and engaging honestly. Because without that commitment from both partners, no therapist will likely be able to help.


    If you’d like to explore what couples therapy might be able to do for your relationship, I’d encourage you to reach out to me. You can contact me at 407-579-2070.

    Therapy services available via Telehealth.