Rant: Therapist Quitting On Couples Because of Individual Issues

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A Bill Doherty multi-decade long rant is finally on video.

Simply put, too many couples therapists give up on motivated couples, coming to improve their marriages, because the therapist can’t handle the impairment of one spouse. He shares the very rare times he would refuse to do couples therapy.

Those who love differentiation will appreciate the priority around boundary setting and personal agency we assume both people. Neither spouse is given the ability in our offices to mind-read each other or therapize the other.

Our approach ensures both people are coming up with agendas in every session. Both sign up for personal work, in order to not imbalance the couples therapy with one “client” and their spouse acting like a co-therapist.

Navigating Relationship Challenges: The Power of Couples Therapy

A troubling trend persists in the realm of couples therapy: the premature dismissal of couples due to individual issues. Let's explore why prioritizing couples therapy is paramount even amidst personal struggles.

Understanding Couples Therapy Dynamics

Couples therapy operates on the premise that relationship challenges are intertwined with individual issues. While personal struggles may surface, addressing them within the context of the relationship can lead to profound healing and growth.

The Misconception of Readiness: Breaking Barriers

There's a common misconception that couples must achieve a certain level of personal psychological health before engaging in couples therapy. However, this notion overlooks the intricate dynamics of relationships and the urgency with which couples seek help.

Embracing Complexity: Saving Marriages, One Session at a Time

Many couples turn to therapy as a last resort to salvage their marriage or relationship. By dismissing them based on individual issues, therapists risk exacerbating their already fragile situation.

Exceptions to the Rule: Navigating Severe Impairments

While couples therapy is typically beneficial for most couples, there are exceptions. In cases of severe impairment, such as substance abuse or acute vulnerability, individual therapy may be necessary before couples therapy can effectively commence.

Overcoming Therapist Limitations: A Call to Action

As relational therapists, we must provide support, guidance, and tools to help couples navigate their relationship challenges. Instead of turning them away, let's embrace the opportunity to impact their journey to a healthier, happier relationship positively.

Conclusion: Embracing the Journey of Couples Therapy

Couples therapy is a vital resource for couples facing challenges in their relationship. Let's shift our focus from individual readiness to the power of couples therapy in fostering connection, resilience, and lasting change.