Couples Therapy: Great resource or shameful secret?
We are extremely lucky to be living in such wonderful times, full of major medical advancements, amazing technology, and a wealth of information. You want to know something? Just ask your best friend Dr. Google. Looking for support? I bet you could find at least a handful of online support groups for whatever it is you're needing support around. Have an alternate view on something? You can connect with other like minded folks, either on line or in person.
What do we do when we are struggling in our romantic relationships? Do people still rely on Google? You bet. Pretend like there's not a problem? Sure, that's easiest anyway. But what happens when you realize you can't ignore the problem any longer?
While the mental health community has been working hard to end the stigma surrounding therapy, it still unfortunately exists. I hear time and time again from my clients that they've been unhappy in their relationships for several years, but didn't want to "admit" that they needed therapy--because they think needing therapy says something about the success of their relationship. This attitude stops people from getting the help they need, and results in them showing up in therapy as a very last resort--when they are holding onto years of hurt feelings, resentment, and misunderstandings.
I wonder what would happen if we found some way to remove the stigma? If we were somehow able to send the message that asking for help is not only ok, but a sign of strength, and that reaching out to protect your relationship and mental health is just as important as protecting your physical health.
If you and your partner were struggling, would you consider seeing a therapist? Most couples I have worked with or know in my personal life do not disclose that they are in therapy. They don't share recommendations with their friends, they don't want anyone to know that they "need" therapy. My hope for the future is that people will not feel shame about seeking therapy, but view it just like any other self care/health care services.
What do you think? I'd love to hear from you! How do you view therapy?