Can I Work On My Relationship in Therapy Even if My Partner Won't Come With Me?

If you’re already familiar with reading this blog, you probably already know the short answer to such a questionable question. Can one work on their relationship in therapy even if their person isn’t there? Usually, I would have to say “it depends.” However, my shorter answer for this one is probably not.

Many, if not most, therapists are trained to provide therapeutic services to their identified client—you. In the case of couple therapy, the relationship between each party is considered the identified client, aka the unit. In this case, the individual who attends is the only client. But this question deserves much more than a simple no.

First, if you’re planning on going to therapy to vent to your therapist about how awful your partner is, chances are they won’t allow it to go much further without inquiring about your role in the relationship. It’s tough, but useful information. Eventually, they might even suggest you and your person see a couple therapist together.

Unfortunately, if your partner does not want to attend therapy, then that in itself is deserving of having a conversation, a very fun and colorful conversation to say the least. But, there is a silver lining in this.

The idea of therapy is to begin the process of healing whatever you decide to bring into the room. So if you were to bring in your experiences regarding your current relationship, your therapist may ask you questions or provide alternative statements to get you thinking. The point is to keep the focus on your very own self-care by receiving objective feedback.

These questions may help you identify how you are perceived in communicating, how you react versus how you respond, and maybe even how past events effect your present. Growth is an endless process here.

With that, let’s ask the question again. Can I work on my relationship in therapy even if my partner won’t come with me? I say probably not, but there’s plenty you can learn about yourself that you can take back home and introduce to your relationship. Who knows, maybe this approach will make it easier to talk about the possibility to have a meeting with a couple therapist. You never know.

Jacob Kountz