There is always stigma and negativity attached to therapy, taking medication, mental illness diagnoses, and anything related to the acts we need to take to manage our symptoms or work on our personal development. Society can press this idea that happiness is the only acceptable state of being, so if you peel back the curtain and admit that things aren’t picture perfect, you’re messy, dramatic, or even a failure. This is not true at all!
First of all, everyone is constantly dealing with at least one thing! No one’s life is as perfect as the most curated, colorful, uplifting Instagram feed. But if we get into a fight with our significant other, we are way more likely to talk to our friends in person about it to get advice or at least vent than we are to post a status about it on social media. That’s totally fine, but know that you never need to fake perfect or that you can’t utilize resources that exist for the reason you need them in this very moment! Like therapy.
For example, if you’re struggling with your significant other, why don’t we want to seek out something like couples counseling? Things like TV shows and movies make light of couples counseling as “the things you do right before you get divorced”, but have we ever thought deeper about it? Maybe people are simply waiting way too long to get help! What if we get rid of our hang-ups, ego, and stigma against couples counseling and tried it as soon as we hit a spot where we were bumping heads and could easily benefit from a neutral third party?
Couples counseling, is a unique form of counseling because you’re working with someone you love to improve in a specific area of your relationship. It’s not just about you, but it’s also very much about you. We go in with a grievance list about the other person and our relationship in general, but we come out the other side having looked deeper into ourselves and realizing how much this truly is a two-way street. Our partner might bring up things we had no idea we were doing or at least how they were perceived. Couples counseling can be a very humbling experience that can bring you closer to your partner, and that’s exactly what it aims to do.
Couples counseling isn’t just for married people, either! It can be for people who have been together eight months, who are or aren’t sharing a living space, who do or don’t have kids, who are non-monogamous, or anything! The specifics of your relationship don’t eliminate you as a candidate for couples therapy, and it’s important to remember that.
Going to couples counseling doesn’t mean your relationship is destined to fail. It means you are making an active decision to work on something that is special to you in the first place, the same way you would in a personal therapy session. We think of self-care as an individual activity, but taking care of what’s going on in our important relationships is actually a huge part of self-care because of how much stress it can ultimately end up causing us. Take a stand, make a plan, and consider couples counseling if you ever feel the need to, knowing that it’s not something that should ever be judged because you’re doing what’s best for you.