How Do I Persuade My Partner That We Need Marriage Counselling

How Do I Persuade My Partner That We Need Marriage Counselling

by Dr Emma Gray - 14th January, 2014

Dear Dr Gray,
I think my husband and I need marriage counselling but I think if I suggest it he will just say no. I have had therapy (CBT I think) in the past for depression and found it really useful but he thinks that we shouldn’t talk to strangers about our problems.
Annabel (Marylebone)

Dr Gray Replies……..

Dear Annabel,
When people come to see a therapist for marriage counselling if is usual for one member of the partnership to be much keener on the idea than the other, so your husband’s reluctance is not necessarily a barrier to a successful outcome. First of all you both need to agree that there is a problem and agree what it is, for example, we argue all the time. Then, if you have not done so already, raise the idea of therapy or marriage counselling in a straight forward way, suggesting it as one possible solution to the problem that you are faced with. Then ask him for his ideas about the way forward making sure that you are clear that your current ways of tackling things are not working so some sort of change is necessary. If he is adamant that you should continue to struggle on as you have been set a time limit to review the problem so you can evaluate whether his chosen method is working. It might be useful to have a way of measuring this, for example a tally of arguments, so that you have something concrete to highlight the lack of change or improvement. After this review period, if your husband is still resistant to the idea of therapy tell him that you are going to go to therapy alone to discuss your problems; although this is not as good as both of you attending the counselling, it is at least half as good as you make up half of the couple in trouble. The other benefit of this approach is that it may spark your husband curiosity about what is being said in his absence creating the motivation he needs to join you in the therapy. As you are probably aware The British CBT & Counselling Service offers therapy in Marylebone.


Dr Emma Gray

Dr Emma Gray

I am often the first person with whom my patients share significant and intimate thoughts and memories; I never take that privileged position for granted nor the opportunity to help someone to feel better about themselves and discover a more fulfilling life. One of my colleague once described me as natural psychologist; I guess she was alluding to the fact that I feel at ease being a therapist, I can empathise with people’s distress and discomfort but don’t feel overwhelmed by it, I can understand their problem and know how to help, it has always just felt like what I should be doing.


Read more about my approach to counselling here...


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