Individual or Couples Therapy? How to Help Yourself and Your Wife

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Therapy is a fantastic tool to not just help you understand who you are, but to also manage relationships in your life, including your marriage. 

Many individuals may look to therapy if they feel as though they are not communicating well with their partners, which is a great idea!

However, therapy should not be seen as a way to change your partner’s way of thinking. The purpose of therapy is to help you understand where your partner may be coming from, and also to help you consider how your own perspective may seem to them.

Improving your relationship with your wife – making her laugh more, spending more time together, avoiding conflict, etc. – is a process that therapy can certainly help expedite. Mental health professions like those at MyTherapist can offer services of all sorts, even if they function primarily online.

But, when it comes to having a specific goal related to your relationship, you may ask yourself which kind of therapy is best. In this scenario, is individual therapy or couple’s therapy most effective?

The answer to this question is nuanced, and largely depends on your specific situation. In this article, we’ll unpack some of the individual benefits associated with each type of therapy as well as tips to help you decide which is best for you and/or your wife.

The Goals of Individual Therapy 

Individual therapy can be a step you pursue before couple’s therapy, but you might also find that individual therapy is better suited to your concerns. Either or is fine so long as you feel like it’s genuinely making a difference.

Individual therapy can help you understand the impact your family and relationship history has had on you in the present moment. It can also, in turn, challenge you to consider how your actions impact your relationship.

Sometimes individual therapy is a better, more comfortable way to express your frustrations related to your relationship. You might, for instance, tell your therapist about thoughts and experiences you’re not quite ready to talk to your spouse about. 

Your therapist might also be able to offer unique insight into your personal behavior and thought patterns; this sort of individualized care might be harder to achieve in couple’s therapy. 

Having a professional really get to know you can be very beneficial regardless of whether or not you pursue couple’s therapy at the same time or down the line.

The Unique Benefits of Couples Therapy

On the flip side, working with a couple’s therapist can increase your level of knowledge about yourself and your partner, encourage you to consider how you respond to one another, and allow you to identify patterns that may consistently start conflicts.

According to many professionals, a common issue that tends to arise in couple’s therapy is one or both parties wanting to change the other person. 

They may wrongly expect therapy to significantly alter who an individual is or how they act; while therapy can accomplish these goals in part, the point of therapy is not to fundamentally alter an individual’s identity.

As a result, sometimes the hardest part of couples therapy is accepting your partner’s flaws and coming to terms with your own, too. Therapists can help mediate conflict, but they can also create an environment where you can organically discover new things about each other.

Sometimes, the best way to strengthen your relationship is to challenge it. While it can be time-consuming, upsetting, and tiring to work hard on your marriage, it’s almost always worth it.

Maintaining a relationship involves time, work, commitment, and sacrifice. There is no such thing as a perfect relationship, but there is such a thing as finding ways to make your relationship stand the test of time. 

Conclusion

Both individual and couple’s therapy can be beneficial when it comes to addressing relationship concerns.

Which option is best for you depends primarily on the issues at hand.

Do you feel like your concerns mostly stem from your own habits or your own struggle to communicate, or do you feel like your concerns are more related to behaviors both parties exhibit? Asking these sorts of questions can help you come to the best conclusion for your situation.

No matter what decision you make, it’s important to let your partner know that you care about improving your relationship. 

It can be hard to admit when we’re wrong or acting in a way we know can be hurtful, but ultimately, being patient with and compassionate toward the ones we love most is always worthwhile.