Couples can allow logistics, work schedules, children, money, and an array of obstacles get in the way of supporting their precious relationship.

For most of us, going to couples therapy is a big deal. Couples therapy is quite different from individual therapy in that choosing a topic involves two people instead of one. Sitting with our partner in front of a new therapist can be intimidating by itself; what’s more, we can’t make things up with our partners there witnessing us. If we do, our partner will probably call us out and there will be consequences as a result.

I compare couples therapy to improv theatre: the actors don’t have any scripts, requiring partners to respond live to each other (in this case, with a therapist supporting them in the process). The stakes may be higher in couples therapy, but the tradeoff can be that we get to resolve communications in person, together, as opposed to talking about what to do or say with our partner in individual therapy.