Can one person do couples counseling?

Often there is one person in a couple who wants to seek couples counseling.  The partner may say that everything is fine, there is no need to go, counseling wouldn’t be helpful anyway.  This leaves the other person frustrated, angry, hopeless and ignored.


Since I approach the family from a systems point of view, I see the couple as a mini-system.  It is very possible to work with one part of a system and create change in the whole structure of the relationship.  When you change one flat tire on a bicycle, the whole bike ride feels different.  All the parts that were affected by the flat now function better together.


In counseling, one person can learn how to respond to his/her partner in a new way:  with a revised understanding of themselves and the other, with new found empathy, with different words, voice tone and body language.  These new responses change the system.  It becomes very difficult for the partner to respond in the old ways when presented with new stimuli.  Now there is a chance for new things to happen.  It is not always easy or smooth going, but eventually it creates opportunity for a different kind of conversation.  It gets them out of the rut of repetitive arguments that lead nowhere which is something they both know how to do very well!


Don’t hesitate to come in alone for couples counseling.  Something wonderful could come out of it.