Do We Need Couples Therapy?


“Do we need to see a therapist?”

“Could a couples counselor help?”

No couple really wants to have these sorts of thoughts or conversations.  Often, if couples have gotten to the point of thinking about seeing a psychologist, things have gotten pretty bad.  Disagreements. Yelling. Silence.  Maybe all 3.

So how do you know if seeing a couples therapist could be helpful to your relationship?

You keep having the same argument over, and over, and over.  Living with someone is tough – there are just so many things to argue about! Sometimes those arguments can go in circles – meaning they keep happening in the same old way with no resolution.  Couples therapists can help you communicate differently and hopefully get out of the old ruts.

You’ve stopped arguing and don’t know what to say. Some couples stop communicating altogether after a while – and that can be damaging too.  Learning how to re-start the conversation by communicating (and listening) effectively are great goals for therapy.

You’re not where you wish you were.  One of the biggest challenges in the life of a couple is weathering changes, transitions and different phases of life.  Just because you love each other doesn’t mean you deal with change and challenge in the same way.  Couples therapy can help folks get back on track after a transition (becoming parents, retiring, relocating, etc).

Of course I’m a little biased, but I think just about every couple could benefit from seeing a psychologist at some point in their relationship.  There are no side effects, and even a meeting or two can be helpful!


Avoiding Affairs: Tips for Keeping Your Pants On

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The other day I read this OUTSTANDING article on how to avoid affairs by a super couples and family psychologist, Dr. David Palmiter.  I have never seen an article like it! I love his candor and forthright advice on avoiding affairs.  Seriously, it is worth checking out.

Among his 10 tips, I especially liked the following:

Tip #2: “Throw water on the spark. If you start feeling titillation towards another person do something to kill that. Putting some distance between you is always a good idea (e.g., stop having contact, make sure you are never alone together, don’t complain about your spouse to this person or encourage the same from him or her, avoid mixing contact with substance use).” 

I love this! So simple to say, hard to do in some cases, but right on the money in terms of affair avoidance advice.  Sometimes the most simple actions are the more effective.

Tip #8: “Reflect on what the pain from divorce is like.  Engaging an affair significantly increases the likelihood of a divorce and few human experiences are more stressful or painful than that.”

Divorce is unavoidable at times, avoidable at others – but the subsequent pain is always there.  Particularly when children are involved.  Best to think twice, three times, then over and over again before starting an affair.

And my favorite, Tip #1: “Be humble. Realize that an affair can happen to anybody.”

Nobody gets married thinking they will have affairs and get divorced, yet it happens everyday.  Not taking our partners and our relationships for granted is something for all of us to keep in mind.

To read the rest of Dr. Palmiter’s tips for avoiding affairs, check out his Blog for Hectic Parents.