What are the disadvantages of couples counselling?

The someone.health blog
couples counselling therapy
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A study conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) found that 71% of women and 62% of men who went to couples counselling were satisfied with the type of counselling they received. The study also found that over 80% of participants would recommend counselling to others.


As for the outcomes, it found that after counselling, 81% of men and 78% percent of women remained together with their partners while the rest had since separated.


The study shows that couples counselling is indeed effective and helpful among Australian couples in general. But with any kind of therapy, it’s always more complicated than how it appears. There’s a lot of factors involved for counselling to produce the desired outcomes. In this article, we explore potential disadvantages for couples counselling so that you know what you can expect before diving in:


Resistance or Unwillingness

Both partners need to be willing to actively participate in couples counselling for it to be effective. But not everyone will be into that idea and that is not uncommon. If one partner is resistant or unwilling to engage in the counselling process, it can hinder progress and limit the effectiveness of sessions. But there are ways to help someone struggling with this.

  1. Open communication. Encourage your partner to discuss the reasons behind the resistance. You can also discuss ways on how they’ll be able to address these in the way that they’ll be comfortable with.
  2. Normalise therapy. Some may not just be open to the idea of therapy or counselling in general. Discuss with them the benefits of not just couples counselling but counselling in general. Best to also ask the experiences and feedback of others who have undergone counselling to set expectations.
  3. Propose a trial period. You don’t need to dive headfirst into counselling unprepared. Let your partner know that it is an option to just try out a few sessions first and see how it goes.


Emotional Discomfort

Feeling and being vulnerable is never a comfortable feeling. Couples counselling may bring up difficult emotions and uncomfortable conversations that can make you feel vulnerable, especially if you’re opening up to your partner and with a relative stranger (psychologist) observing close by. Addressing relationship issues can be challenging and may intensify conflicts or disagreements in the process. However, these discomforts are considered necessary for growth and healing. To help with any kind of emotional discomfort, it’s best to remember that:

  1. You or your partner can communicate with your psychologist (and each other) when you’re feeling uncomfortable with a specific topic. Your psychologist is there to support you and can adjust the approach when needed.
  2. Counselling is a process and this discomfort is part of the journey. Healing also takes time.
  3. Identify possible triggers for you and your partner and discuss this with your psychologist.
  4. Emotions can be overwhelming at times and you and your partner can take a moment to collect yourselves before getting back into therapy.


Financial and Time Commitment

Couples counselling requires a level of financial investment, as each session typically comes with a fee. Couples also need to commit considerable time to attend sessions regularly. It’s important to consider these factors and ensure they align with your budget and schedule. For more information on insurance options for couples counselling, please reach out to our support squad.


Not All Relationships Can Be Saved

While couples counselling can be highly effective for many relationships, it’s important to acknowledge that not all relationships can be saved. There are situations where it will be healthier if a couple separates rather than stay together. Separation doesn’t mean that the therapy didn’t work but, rather, it’s the option where both parties can develop better self development. Counselling can then help couples navigate a healthy separation or develop strategies for co-parenting.


It Takes Two to Tango

Couples counselling focuses on Unlike the usual therapy, couples therapy relies on both parties. It’s essential to recognise that two different people will always have differing opinions and outlooks in life and therapy will not be able to change this. The role of couples counselling is to improve communication, resolve conflicts, and help people with their differences.


Before starting with couples therapy, you and your partner should carefully consider these drawbacks. It is important to recognize that success of the counselling often hinges on you and your partner’s willingness to accommodate each other and to make adjustments for both when needed to address issues. Another factor for success is having a skilled and experienced psychologist that could provide support and guidance throughout your journey.


If you’re ready to explore couples counselling, please reach out to us to schedule an appointment.