Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


Couple Therapy For One Please

posted by Linda Mintle

Susan’s marital distress reached a tipping point, leading her to see a marital therapist. Her chief complaint was that her husband refuses to change, blames her for all the family problems, doesn’t hold a steady job and rarely takes responsibility for his behavior. He is constantly late to family events, forms unhealthy alliances with their children and responds to confrontation with anger and entitlement. The problem is he won’t come to therapy.

While I prefer to see both spouses for couple therapy, couple work with one person is possible and effective. In practice, not all spouses are available or motivated to attend sessions. Couple  therapy, however, is not constricted to both partners attending, but rather involves a systems mindset applied to the work conducted with the person present.

The work involves helping the person observe his or her role in the couple process and changing unhealthy patterns by changing the client’s step in the couple dance. And nothing like an affair, lying or abuse can be on-going.

Ever since Adam first blamed Eve and Sarai accused Abram of being the cause of her suffering (Gen 16:5), people continue to stubbornly avoid personal responsibility in the context of relationships. Our natural bent is to blame others rather than “take the beam out of our own eye”.  Couple therapy with one person helps people take personal responsibility, focus on their own hearts and mind, and control the one thing they can control—their own reactions to others.

Ultimately, God holds each of us accountable for our part in our interpersonal relationships. He does not excuse us based on the unhealthy reactions of others. Thus, this type of therapy, which focuses on your reactions to unhealthy patterns fits beautifully with a biblical frame of personal accountability and responsibility.

So if your partner refuses to go to couple therapy, you go. Work on your behavior, conflict management and relationships skills and see what a difference this type of focus makes in the relationship. You can’t change another person but you can change you. And when you change you, the relationship does change. However, you need to find a therapist who understands the systems approach to couple work, and not a therapist who only deals with individuals.

 

More marital help, I Married You, Not Your Family by Dr. Linda Mintle (click on the link at the right More Books By Dr. Mintle)

 



Previous Posts

Why Talking on the Phone is Like Driving Drunk
I now live in a fairly small town and have noticed how many people drive and talk on their cell phones. Without fail, when someone is driving erratically, too slow in a lane or crossing over the mid line, I look, and yes, the person is talking on the phone. Researchers tell us that talking on the

posted 7:12:23am Jul. 31, 2014 | read full post »

What Does Your Clutter Say About You?
Is your closet a window into your mental health? Are you what you wear?  Does saving your old college sports uniform remind you of the glory days of your life?  How about those hundreds of books you will never read again, but can't bring yourself to part with them?  Maybe closer to ho

posted 7:00:44am Jul. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Teens and TV: Are They Overdoing It?
By now, most of you are aware that too much screen viewing for children and teens is linked to  elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, lack of sleep, school problems, aggression, and being overweight. And we know that teen viewing habits often carry over to adult viewing habits. So how are

posted 7:00:54am Jul. 28, 2014 | read full post »

Body-Brain Connection: When Bigger Really is Better
"As your weight goes up, the size and function of your brain goes down." This, according to psychiatrist, Daniel Amen. It's true, smaller doesn't always mean better, especially when it comes to the size of your brain! Dr. Amen, author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Body, wants us all to get o

posted 9:27:01am Jul. 17, 2014 | read full post »

5 Proactive Steps to Get Rid of Job Worry
Downsizing, added work loads, difficult co-workers, budget cuts and poor leadership can cause even the calmest person to worry on the job. On way to deal with stress and job worries is to control the things you can and trust God for the rest. Here are 5 proactive steps you can take in order to g

posted 7:00:22am Jul. 15, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.