How Individual Therapy Can Ruin Your Marriage

Personal growth is vitally important.  Whether we know it or not, we are all on a journey of self-discovery so that we can be the best versions of ourselves.  Personal growth helps us look at our past, bring closure to difficult events, and choose who to be in the future.

Personal growth is good and powerful.

Yet, there is a dark side to this process rooted in the assumptions of the helper that is not a necessary part of the growth.

If your therapist does not believe in lifelong marriage or partnerships, it could destroy your relationship.

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Some healers believe that you and your partner need to grow at the same rate.  These well-meaning therapists send the message that your relationship is over:

  • If your partner lags behind.
  • If they are resistant to the changes you are making.
  • If they are on a different path of personal growth.

As a healer, your individual therapist’s job is to be on your side. They help you grow through self-reflection, gentle challenges, and providing tools. Their goal is to help you change to improve your life.  In itself, this is a good thing. They are able to 100% be on your side. There are few places in life where you can experience unconditional, complete support.  It is a necessary environment that allows you to examine who you are and make real change.

The problem is that they are not on your spouse’s side. You will express frustration about situations in your relationship. Many therapists will reinforce that your position, choices, and attitude are right. It takes a lot of specialized training or insight into how couples relationships work to be able to avoid this.

  • They blame your partner for your struggles.
  • They show little empathy or understanding for your partner.
  • They subtly or outright suggest that you have outgrown the relationship.
  • Their work focuses on how your partner needs to change.
  • You leave sessions feeling angrier towards your spouse.
  • Therapy makes you feel hopeless about your relationship.

Of course, if your goal is to find the strength to leave your relationship, this is helpful. If your goal is to preserve your relationship, if you want a lifetime with your partner, watch for the potential problems of this situation.

Your therapist has a strong impact on who you become. You trust them to help you grow in healthy ways. What they believe can shift your beliefs.

Truthfully, people almost never grow at the same rate as their partners. Couples who thrive work on feeling connected throughout their relationship. They understand how to grow together.

Even in the best relationship, you will have periods in the marriage when you feel disconnected and out of sync.

Feeling disconnected or out of sync should be a trigger that reminds you to work on your marriage.

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  • Choose your therapist wisely.  Look for a therapist who has a clear stance on life-long relationships.
  • Be clear with your therapist about your needs and values.  It’s okay to remind them that your goal is to thrive within the relationship.
  • Don’t stay with a therapist who seems to have their own agenda.  You need to determine what is good for your life.  It’s not up to your therapist to decide what is right for you.

Personal growth is wonderful. Therapy is a powerful way to enable that growth.  I strongly advocate pursuing personal growth.  I would never suggest that you stay in an abusive marriage. I stand firmly on your right to make choices in your life.  The point of personal growth is for you to learn what is right for your life.

So, be wise about how you pursue that growth. There are many paths to personal growth. Choose one that matches your goals for your life.

At the Couples Counseling Center, we specialize in helping couples communicate, connect, and repair relationship injuries. You can do this with your partner or in individual therapy.  The first step to learn how counseling can help you and get an appointment is to schedule a free phone consultation.  It’s the best way to get your questions answered.


Meet Cheri Timko!

She is a seasoned Couples Psychotherapist with over 20 years of experience. Certified in Gottman Couples Therapy and Relationship Enhancement, she’s dedicated to helping couples overcome challenges and cultivate extraordinary relationships.

Cheri’s passion lies in providing a personalized roadmap for each unique couple, instilling hope, and equipping them with the tools for lasting success. Discover the transformative power of a great relationship.

Want help for your relationship? Schedule a free phone consultation to learn how Couples Therapy can help you.

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