Short answer (and at the risk of being unpopular) …. YES, but before you judge me and my answer, hear me out.
For those who have seen me in counselling, you would know that I always ask new clients a couple of questions. These are;
- What happened for you to make contact with me the day you did?
- What are the issues?
- What are your hopes and goals for our work together?
- How committed are you to this process?
- And most importantly, how committed are you to your relationship?
While these seem run of the mill – and they are- they also help to open my eyes to the fact that there are times where new clients’ answer scream ‘too late’, particularly with the last question. Believe it or not, it’s not unusual for one of the partners to tell me, and happily in front of their spouse, that they have checked out and couldn’t care less whether the therapy works, or it doesn’t.
This is where i ask them (for their own good)… How successful do you think therapy will be with a person who openly tells me they have no reason to work on their marriage?
This generally has the room grow quiet pretty quickly, and either they realise that they need to make a genuine effort with the process, themselves, and the partnership, or they’re wasting their time, my time, and by default, the time of couples I could be seeing instead.
Are they specific issues that are deal breakers?
No. It’s the not the affair, the betrayal, the lack of sex, or the family feud that dictate whether therapy is too late for a couple, it’s a combination of;
1- What the issues are
2- How long the issues have been going on?
3- Whether BOTH partners are willing to be accountable and proactive in doing the work
What makes therapy successful vs unsuccessful?
1- Open-mindedness. Are both partners willing to see their own shortcomings? Are they equally willing to start fresh and show good will and good faith in working on/forgiving past transgressions/trauma/betrayals etc?
2- Homework. When a partner/both partners do not follow through with their ‘homework’, they can’t expect to become proficient at practicing new skills and/or seeing change in their household. It’s basically common sense. And yet, I have a few couples who return week after week, wondering why nothing has changed… I’m pretty clear in telling them that following through with learnings is as important as showing up!
3- Attendance. Yes. Don’t expect counselling, for most couples anyway, to only take a session or two for the therapy to make a massive difference. The reality, of course based on whatever issues the couple attended to start with, is that couple therapy will take no less than 5 to 10 sessions minimum, more for those who don’t apply the teachings from the get go. Here are a few articles to back this up! ‘A complete guide to number of optimal sessions‘, ‘How to prepare for therapy‘, ‘Do you really want to save your relationship?‘ ‘What to expect in couple therapy?‘
Now, what I realise is that all, while ideal, isn’t cheap (though my fees are kept to a minimum and extremely competitive) so here is a new incentive this year to help couples prioritize their relationship.
New bulk prices or/and multi-sessions discounts!
Though it might sound a little ‘funny’, this was requested by many couples last year so after sending a survey to all my clients which confirmed this was something people would like, I am now offering discounted fees for multiple sessions purchased at the one time. Why? because it’s a fact that attending for only a couple of sessions doesn’t permit couples to really dig deep into the issues AND resolve them. To help, here are some bulk prices for those who want to make their therapy a longer-term commitment.
Five session pack – $750 (normally $850. A saving of $20/session)
Ten session pack – $ 1400 (normally $1700. A saving of $30/session)
Two hour intro gift pack (perfect for friends/relatives who need brief therapy or an assessment with recommendations before being ‘sold’) – $250 (normally $340)
I’m genuinely hoping this will make a difference in accessibility for couples in 2023. Of course, as usual, I am available anytime to chat about about the process, the options and expectations.
Remember, do NOT wait until it’s too late to seek help. Reach out while you and your partner are still willing to work on your marriage, because if you don’t, there’s not much anyone can do. However, with an open heart, a readiness to work on the therapy content, and regular attendance, change is not only possible but almost guaranteed! So make a time to chat now 🙂
Until then, Happy New year!