Breaking The Stigma Of Couples Therapy

Couples Therapy
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There is a pervasive and long-standing stigma surrounding couples therapy. Many believe, and continue to do so, that couples who reach out to a counsellor, those who seek professional support for their relationship, are failing. Over 20% of individuals, in fact, perceive that couples in therapy are likely to break up or that they are seeking support for notably significant issues, such as infidelity and abuse. This stigma, however, is beginning to disappear, along with the many misconceptions.

Despite the perception that couples seek counselling solely when experiencing issues of violence or betrayal, the reality is much different. The most common reasons that couples offer when seeking external guidance in their relationship are those such as managing conflict, overcoming communication issues, and resolving arguments. Such circumstances are not necessarily indicative of so-perceived major issues but can very easily lead to more significant problems should they not be properly addressed.

It is also important to recognise that break-ups can also be a positive outcome. The process of separation is also perceived as being problematic, with many individuals seeing a relationship ending as a failure. This often leads to heightened emotions, such as anger and axiety, which leads individuals to experience a worsened mental health and to resist the outcome of separation. Couples therapy can, in this circumstance, be remarkably beneficial to both parties, because it can ensure that a relationship ends in the best way possible, achieving the necessary outcome for the health and wellbeing of both parties.

Interestingly, the variety of issues affecting relationships is also growing. Alongside an increasing number of couples seeking support in the form of couples counselling, there are also new and notably common trends taking place. Individual mental health issues are continuing to rise, especially in the wake of 2020, and are having a dramatic effect on relationships. Over half of individuals in relationships, for example, feel like their partner doesn’t properly acknowledge or account for their mental health.

Additionally, influencing factors like social media are also becoming more common as factors that potentially affect relationships in a negative way. Issues such as phone usage and distraction are recognised as a cause of frustration between individuals, as well as how social media platforms themselves are used. Bristol Counselling and Psychotherapy have noted a rise in concerns regarding how social media is affecting the relationships of young people in relationships too.

This growing recognition of couples therapy being a useful tool for improvement and mitigation, and not as a tool of last resort, is becoming increasingly recognised among younger generations (and trend for mental health services in general). Over the past decade, a greater number of those in their 20s and 30s have sought out counselling for couples, helping to change the perceptions around therapy with it. The stigma is finally beginning to breakdown with the benefits of a safe space within which to discuss relationships with a trained professional now being celebrated more often.

Couples counselling is, as such, being perceived similarly to individual counselling, as a productive and rewarding endeavour for those who want to overcome potential hurdles but also as a rewarding experience for those who simply want to improve their wellbeing and development as both a person and a partnership.

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