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I had an interesting conversation with someone today who said, “I’ve tried couples therapy.  It stinks.  First, it seems like the goal is just to trick me into coming back and paying more.  Then I come back and the therapist and my wife gang up on me.   No thank you!”

Well, I’d agree with that.  As the song goes, some kind of help is the kind of help we all can do without.

At the same time, good couples therapy actually is quite different– from the first session forwards.  So, here’s my quick list of 5  signs that you’ve found a marriage therapist who is likely to be helpful.

  1. From the first session you are learning something and making tangible progress towards whatever you came in for help with.
  2. You both feel like the therapist is on your side. And, the therapist is on the side of your marriage too!
  3. Your therapist always makes a plan, along with you two, for what you want to do with each session.
  4. For the most part, therapy is forward-looking, helping you to create a better future instead of endlessly digging up the past.
  5. While others feel differently, I also believe that therapy works best when your therapist encourages you to come back when you need help, not when they need to fill a slot.  This may be weekly, it may be bi-weekly, it may be monthly.  It really depends on what YOU TWO need and want.

The bottom line, therapy can and should be more like going to the gym — somewhere you go because you want to go and a coach’s encouragement just helps you do what you wanted to anyway — and less, well not at all, like going to the dentist!

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