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When to See a Couples Therapist

November 9, 2017

This blog post was originally published on Counsel Philadelphia and is shared here with the author’s permission.

Your relationship may seem like its been in trouble for a while.  It may be that you are not communicating anymore or there is a lack of sex or affection.  Even when it is clear that your relationship has problems, it can be difficult to determine when to see a couples therapist.

Signs That Tell You When to See a Couples Therapist

Signs you should see a couples therapist include if you are not communicating or your communication is mostly negative. If your communication patterns have changed significantly and you cannot talk with your partner about it, it is time to see a couples therapist.  Further, if you feel like you are about to be unfaithful (sexually, emotionally, financially), you should start therapy before acting.

What to Look for in a Couples Therapist

Couples should look to see a therapist who is systemically trained and sees how the individuals, their family contexts and their lives outside the relationship may be affecting their partnership.  Couples therapists who think linearly often have difficulty truly understanding the couple’s interaction patterns.

If your partner does not want to go to therapy, explain how you see it helping your relationship.  If the adverse partner is a man, it can help to call it consulting or coaching.

How to Tell if Couples Therapy is Working

You will know that therapy isn’t working if after three months of diligent effort, you haven’t seen any changes. If you haven’t been doing homework or applying yourself in therapy, more time may be needed. Couple therapy works best if both partners have a shared agenda. If only one person wants to be there, or the partners cannot agree on the issues, no amount of couples therapy will help.


Adam Goodman JD MFT

Adam Goodman, JD, MFT

Former Staff Therapist


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