When it’s not a good time to come for couples therapy


I started to write about why couples come to Couples Therapy and then realized I need to write about the times when it's not the best option; Times when you shouldn’t come for counselling, or at least not with me, and to look for other options.

Caveat: every counsellor works differently and specializes in different issues. You certainly want to make sure you find someone who is a good fit for you.





ADDICTION

If you or your partner are struggling with an active addiction - recovery needs to come first.


There are different approaches when it comes to addiction treatment, some counsellors will work with you and your partner, some will ask you to set your relationship aside for the time of treatment (an example may be to move out during treatment, or at east set aside your relationship struggle and focus on addiction treatment first). One thing is clear, your recovery needs to come first.


Once your recovery is strong, and you have an addiction counsellor or a sponsor you are working with, then we can focus on couples work.


Maybe you and your partner need to reconnect, maybe you need to heal the past to be able to move forward, maybe you need to rebuild the trust - there's a lot of work that can be done here.

YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health diagnosis. I am not a doctor or a psychologist or a psychiatrist. I’m a counsellor and I cannot diagnose, nor evaluate mental health conditions or prescribe medication.


I can help you and your partner deal with the diagnosis, but active or untreated mental illness needs to be treated with a help of a specialist. Just like with recovery, your health needs to come first.


Anyone who are struggling with severe depression or anxiety, people who may have or may might need a diagnosis and help for bipolar disorder, OCD, or various personality disorders, including borderline, avoidant or narcissistic personality disorders - you need to find help first.



DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

If you are in an abusive relationship, if you are at risk, you need to get safe first. You need help and support, but it’s not through couples counselling, which can be actually more damaging than helpful as it can put an abused partner at an increased risk


You need an expert in the area of domestic violence. Generic therapy will not help. If you are dealing with aggression, intimidation, threat of physical violence, or actual physical, emotional or sexual abuse - you need help and resources such as:


Family violence prevention

Activities and resources to help prevent family violence and domestic violence, and support healthy relationships.

https://www.alberta.ca/family-violence-prevention.aspx

or

Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter

24-hour family violence help line: 403-234-SAFE (7233) or toll-free 1-866-606-7233

Counselling is free of charge to those needing this service.

Please reach out for help!


Part Two: WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME FOR COUPLE'S THERAPY is coming shortly.