Relationship Therapy: Should you go together or individually?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Teresa Mulvena, CBT Cert, MA Counselling, MBACP (senior accredited)
22nd November, 2008
When you have difficulties in a relationship how do you decide whether to see a couple therapist or an individual therapist?
This can be a difficult question because it can be hard to work out whose problems belong to whom. It can be confusing to know whether you have picked the wrong person or whether there is something in yourself that you haven’t dealt with that needs revisiting.
In general terms, couple counselling focuses on the relationship between the couple primarily, and the way they communicate. Individual therapy on the other hand focuses on the individual and what has shaped them as a person, and what they bring to the relationship in terms of old hurts, fears, and anxieties.
It is very easy to blame the other person, and much harder to look at yourself. Of course in reality things are never as absolute as being able to say who is to blame. It is always about both parties – to some degree. However we can only change ourselves.
I believe that it is when we get into a relationship that we really get to confront ourselves in a deeper way. Somehow the challenge of being in a relationship can bring up issues from the past that we haven’t dealt with. Once we are in a relationship unconsciously it feels safer to start looking for the other person to meet our unmet needs. While your partner may help you feel more secure, they cannot always help you address old insecurities from the past. By facing these old difficulties and working through them with a therapist you can be freer of the past.
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