Herb Tannenbaum, PhD, is the Executive Director of the Center for Effective Living and a privately practicing psychotherapist. With more than 40 years of experience in the field, Dr. Herb Tannenbaum is a certified Imago therapist and presents the Imago couples’ workshop Getting the Love You Want.
Couples counseling can have profoundly beneficial effects on a struggling relationship, but it can be extremely frustrating if your partner refuses to attend sessions with you. Even in these situations, all is not lost. Discuss couples counseling with your partner in a positive way. Remind them that the sessions aren’t about blaming or venting, but are more about working together to end negative patterns within the relationship. You may want to also acknowledge your own behavior that you are hoping to improve. This can help your partner feel more secure about the mutual desire for improvement. If they still refuse, it’s important to continue being compassionate about their concerns.
If your partner is unwilling to participate, you can still attend couples counseling on your own. Therapists can provide you with plenty of information about improving various aspects of your relationship. In addition, self-help books and couples’ workshops may be more acceptable alternatives. Many self-help books include a variety of tools and exercises to help couples reignite passion and improve communication. Meanwhile, couples’ workshops offer assistance that is more focused on specific relationship problems. Being around couples dealing with similar situations can help you and your partner feel more comfortable and less isolated in your struggles.