Have you been thinking about going to counseling for a long time? But you have been waiting on your spouse to agree that counseling is a good idea. On average couples wait 6 years after problems started to go to counseling.
But you don’t need to keep putting off counseling for yourself if your spouse isn’t ready to give it a try. So instead of trying to convince your spouse to come to counseling too, how do you approach the topic of going to counseling? Having worked with many individuals and couples over 20 years, I have learned some do’s and don’ts on how to talk to your spouse about counseling.
3 Do’s for Talking to Your Spouse About Counseling
- Tell your spouse when calm: It’s always better to share your thoughts on important topics when both of you are calm. So wait until the heated argument is over before you share that you’re going to give counseling a try.
- Decide on a counseling budget: If your finances are in a joint account, decide on your counseling budget before you make an appointment. Fees vary by location and counselor, but the average cost locally is $90-130/session. When creating your budget item, consider how many sessions you want to attend per month.
- Identify personal counseling goals: Share what you want to work on in counseling. Check to make sure the goal is something you have the responsibility to change, instead of hoping someone else will change as a result of your going to counseling.
3 Don’ts for Talking to Your Spouse About Counseling
- Don’t beg or pressure: You don’t need to beg or pressure your partner to go to counseling with you. Simply share that you’ve found someone you want to work with and ask if they would like to consult with that person too.
- Don’t wait for agreement: You don’t need to wait for your spouse to agree that counseling is a good idea. Instead, you can talk to a counselor even if your spouse doesn’t think counseling is for him or her.
- Don’t take it personally: If your spouse decides to not attend counseling, don’t take it personally. Your spouse’s decision doesn’t typically mean anything about how much they care about you.
Most of these ideas are underused and many people don’t come to counseling when their spouse doesn’t agree to go too. If you are tired of feeling like your happiness is dependent on getting your spouse to go to counseling with you, consider participating in marriage counseling for one. Or if you are both ready to work on your part in the problem, then start marriage counseling for two.
Marci Payne, MA, LPC, offers individual and marriage counseling for one in Independence MO. To discuss whether counseling is the next step for you to reduce your stress and resentment, schedule a free 15-minute phone consult with Marci. (Also serving clients in surrounding cities of Blue Springs, Grain Vally, and Lee’s Summit.)