Getting your partner to couples counselling

Talking with a partner about attending couples counselling can sometimes be delicate. Here are 8 things to try.

1. Choose the right time and place:

Find a calm and private place where both you and your partner feel safe and comfortable discussing sensitive topics. Try saying something like “How about we have a quiet night at home tomorrow to talk about us and ways to keep our relationship strong?”

2. Express your feelings:

Start the conversation by using “I” statements to express your own feelings and thoughts about the relationship. You can start the conversation with,  “I feel like we could communicate better and I’d like to understand your perspective more.”  This is less threatening to hear than starting with “you” statements like “You need to work on communicating better”.

3. Be positive and show your intent:

Let your partner know that you’re committed to the relationship and are willing to work on improving it. Lean into mentioning what you have and cherish about your relationship, such as,  “I love you and our partnership, and I want to make sure that we continue growing stronger together.”

4. Introduce the idea of counselling:

Gently suggest the idea of attending couples counselling as a way to work together to strengthen the relationship and resolve any challenges. Say, “I’ve been thinking that we might benefit from trying couples counselling so we can learn constructive strategies to deal with issues that come up.”

5. Highlight the benefits:

Explain the potential benefits of attending marriage counselling, such as improved communication, conflict resolution, and a deeper emotional connection. You can go on with,  “Couples counselling can help us learn better ways to communicate, resolve conflicts more effectively, and strengthen our emotional bond.”

6. Address their concerns:

Listen to your partner’s thoughts and concerns, and show empathy and understanding. Give your partner the space to respond and share their feelings and thoughts.  Let them know that you’re there to support and discuss other options if needed. For example: “If you have any concerns about attending counselling, please know that I’m here to listen and we can explore other solutions together.”

7. Avoid blame:

Make sure to not blame your partner or make them feel responsible. Try saying, “I’m not suggesting this because I think you’re at fault; we both contribute to our relationship dynamics, and I believe counselling can guide us towards a better understanding of each other.”

8. Agree on a plan:

If your partner agrees to attend counselling, discuss the logistical details and make a plan for selecting a therapist and attending sessions. For example: “If you’re willing to give it a try, let’s choose a therapist together and make plans for our first session.”

Remember that communication is key, and presenting couples counselling as a collaborative process where both partners work together to enhance their relationship can increase your chances of success.

Waypoint Counselling Network offers a free matching service and connects you with the right couples counsellor in Greater Victoria, Vancouver, Lower Mainland, Kelowna and the Okanagan. Our skilled and seasoned couples counsellors know it can be difficult for one or both partners to start this path and they work at creating a safe and welcoming space.  All counsellors offer a free 20 minute phone call so you and your partner can decide if the counsellor is a good fit before committing to therapy.  Remember to keep the momentum once you begin your search. It is easy to let the busyness of daily life get in the way but you both owe it yourself to prioritize your relationship.  Contact us to learn more.

Photo by Nicole Geri on Unsplash