Couple or Individual Counseling? (part 1 of 2)

In this post, I’m going to give you the “executive summary” then discuss some of the ramifications of this question:

Getting help now before problems escalate into something harder to deal with is more important than whether you do individual or couple counseling.

Sometimes it’s clear which is the best choice for you when trying to decide between individual or couple counseling. There are two main situations where you might find yourself wondering which option would be more helpful:

  1. Your companion doesn’t want to go to counseling
  2. You’re uncertain about whether the problems are your stuff or the relationship’s stuff

The first situation is focused on the other person and is easier to address. You can pressure your partner into attending anyway, maintain open communication about wanting to attend with them and hope you persuade them someday, or go alone and ask your therapist to help you with your troubling relationship.

Some considerations about these approaches:

  • A reluctant attendee might come around if he/she can make a connection with the therapist and the process of therapy.
  • Waiting and hoping your partner will someday agree with you runs the risk that they won’t. Or that things will become so bad it will take even more time and effort to repair. Or even that the relationship will end.
  • If you start counseling, your companion may choose to join you later. But if not, even individual therapy can help you effectively work on changing your role in the relationship, which is really all you can do in couple counseling anyway.

Have you had individual counseling that helped with your relationships? Have you had couple counseling that helped you with your personal thoughts and feelings?