How to approach your Partner who is not willing to seek Couples Therapy

Author picture
Written By:

Counselling Psychologist -

Author picture
Reviewed By:

Counselling Psychologist - MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA

Image description


Being in a healthy and joyous relationship is a blessing but with a happy companionship comes inevitable challenges. Even the best relationships, ones built on effort and trust, undergo challenging times. When both individuals are flourishing and they approach concerns related to mindfulness and care, even the most intricate issues appear manageable and easy to handle.

However, when you feel your efforts are not helping it may be the right decision to go for couples therapy but what if your partner is not willing to go for it?

Many times when we share our willingness to see a therapist for couple counseling, our partner might not be up for it. This could be because they see an “alarm” in this situation. He/she can feel there is something to worry about in the relationship and can start feeling anxious about the same. Another reason could be the fear of being pointed out as “wrong” in the fights or in the entire relationship! The fear of being “wrong” in front of a stranger can invoke unresolved anxiety and insecurities which is quite normal to experience initially. 

Addressing the prospect of couple therapy can be a delicate task when met with reluctance from your partner. Navigating this conversation requires sensitivity, empathy and a commitment to fostering open communication. 

How to do this? Here are some of the tips to approach your partner who is not willing to seek couple’s therapy:

Timing is the key!:

Being calm while discussing this sensitive matter is of utmost significance. You should approach your partner for this when you both are calm and mentally free. It will be a long discussion so it is important to consider the place and time. The place should be comfortable and quiet like your home. Also, make sure that both you and your partner can give time to the talk without any distractions and with full focus.

Express Your Feelings Using "I" Statements:

While expressing your desire to try therapy, share your feelings and needs with true beliefs. You should be able to convey your reasons for thinking that therapy might help. It is better to share your feelings honestly using "I" statements instead of “you should not..” or “you don’t..”.
For instance, say, "I ve been feeling concerned about our communication pattern and resulting fights, and I think couples therapy could help us navigate things together."

Study and be thorough with what you are suggesting
Before approaching your partner, it is important for you to be able to answer their questions and concerns about counseling. They will have questions and apprehensions. It will be highly beneficial if you research a bit about “what” and “why” of therapies, understanding its process and importance. For example, you should be able to respond to “I don’t think there are as many issues requiring therapy”, with “Therapy is not confined to benefit couples having major issues. It is equally helpful for couples like us, who want to enhance the quality of our relationship.”

Highlight Positives of Couples Therapy
Emphasizing what your partner can expect from therapy is a crucial aspect of deciding whether to take therapy or not. Discuss the positive aspects of couples therapy, such as improved communication patterns, a deeper understanding of each other, and enhanced relationship satisfaction. For this, you can share stories or examples of couples who have benefited from therapy to explain its potential impact and benefits.

Listen Actively and Acknowledge their concerns
Be proactive and try to understand your partner’s concerns. He/She should feel heard and acknowledged for them to consider changing their unwillingness to willingness. You should be patient and calm while listening to their fears and concerns regarding therapy. For instance, if they point out that they are afraid of being told “You are wrong in this and your partner is right”, address this fear with empathy and care. Acknowledge their feelings while reassuring them that therapy would focus on healing the relationship of which both of you are an equal part. Help them understand that the therapist would not “blame” anyone instead help you both navigate through the challenges you are going through.

Navigating through Stigma related concerns:
Therapy and Counseling are associated with cultural stigma in our society. Although there has been a shift in people’s thinking patterns towards a positive attitude toward therapeutic support, it still needs a lot of work. For navigating your partner out of these stigma-associated concerns, it is important to approach him with sensitivity and empathy. Help them understand the normalcy of seeking therapy for personal and relationship growth. Share about the confidentiality and non-judgment aspect of the process to help them consider.

Suggest “Trying once”:
Propose going for a session once and then deciding if it feels right or not. By coming to this compromise, both you and your partner can feel heard and ultimately you both can decide together after a therapeutic experience. You can also offer different modes of choosing a therapist etc. for getting confidence from your partner.

Lead by Example
Displaying the benefits of therapy in your behaviour instead of telling them verbally can make a lot of difference. You can do this by going for therapy alone and reflecting on the positives of the same in your behavior. Seeing positive changes in your communication patterns and willingness to put in more effort, convincing your partner can become easier. Practicals are always better than theory! 

Respect their decision
After the discussions, if your partner remains unwilling still, respect their decision for now. Keep focusing on your well-being, and keep the door open for future conversations. The key is to approach the topic with empathy, understanding and a shared commitment to make your relationship stronger.

Success Story
Aisha and Rohan had been in a committed relationship for over 2 years. Despite a deep connection and understanding, communication issues and unresolved conflicts were straining their relationship. Aisha recognized that seeking therapy could be beneficial, but Rohan was resistant and unwilling to go for the same.

Approach the idea:
Aisha approached the idea of therapy with sensitivity, understanding Rohan s concerns. They had a heartfelt conversation about the struggles they were facing, emphasizing the potential benefits of seeking professional guidance. Rohan, however, was sceptical and concerned about the societal as well as the risk of getting blamed in therapy for their issues.

Empathetic Convincing:
Instead of pressuring Rohan, Aisha took a mindful approach. She shared articles, videos, and success stories of couples who had overcome similar challenges through therapy. Aisha empathized with Rohan s concerns, acknowledging the cultural nuances and fears associated with therapy in his mind.

Creating a Safe Space:
Aisha made it clear that therapy wasn t about assigning blame but a collaborative effort to strengthen their relationship. They discussed the importance of creating a safe space where both could express themselves openly without any fear of being judged.

Suggesting a Trial Period:
Understanding Rohan s apprehension, Aisha suggested trying therapy for a limited period—a few sessions to start. This approach allowed Rohan to view therapy as a manageable commitment, easing his concerns about a long-term obligation.

Choosing the Right Therapist:
Together, Aisha and Rohan researched and selected a therapist who understood their cultural context and addressed their specific concerns. Finding a professional who respected their background was crucial in building trust in the therapeutic process.

Small Wins and Progress:
As they attended sessions, Aisha and Rohan began to experience small breakthroughs. The therapist provided tools for effective communication and strategies for conflict resolution. These newfound skills helped the couple navigate challenges more constructively.

Celebrating Successes:
Aisha and Rohan celebrated their successes, no matter how small, reinforcing the positive impact of therapy. They acknowledged the progress they made together and learned to appreciate each other s efforts in the relationship.

Sustained Growth:
As the therapy sessions continued, Aisha and Rohan not only resolved their initial issues but also gained tools to navigate future challenges. They developed a shared language for expressing their feelings and needs, creating a foundation for sustained growth.

Aisha and Rohan s story illustrates the transformative power of therapy when approached with care, empathy, and a commitment to mutual growth. By overcoming initial resistance and addressing cultural nuances, they not only improved their relationship but also paved the way for a more connected and resilient future.

So, approaching a partner resistant to couple therapy may seem challenging, but it can pave the way for transformative benefits in your relationship. By fostering open communication, understanding, and emphasizing the positive outcomes that therapy can bring, you can have the opportunity to strengthen your emotional bond, improve communication, and navigate challenges more effectively. 

The benefits of counseling extend beyond the resolution of immediate issues, providing a solid foundation for sustained growth, resilience, and lasting happiness in your relationship. 

Embracing therapy is not a sign of weakness but a courageous step towards creating a healthier, happier and more fulfilling partnership. 

Ms. Priyanka Walia
Ms. Priyanka Walia M.A. Counselling Psychology Counselling Psychologist 05 years of experience

View Reviews

Get up to 50% OFF on counselling session
Ms. Muskan Maheshwari
Ms. Muskan Maheshwari M.Sc. Clinical Psychology Clinical Psychologist 02 years of experience

View Reviews

Get up to 50% OFF on counselling session
Mr. Nishant Sharma
Mr. Nishant Sharma M.Phil. Clinical Psychology Clinical Psychologist 07 years of experience

View Reviews

Get up to 50% OFF on counselling session
Ms. Akshita Bakshi
Ms. Akshita Bakshi Ph.D. Relationship Psychology Counselling Psychologist 05 years of experience

View Reviews

Get up to 50% OFF on online counselling session

Request a call back

Need any consultations contact with us