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"If you live to be 100, I hope to live to be 100 minus one day so I never have to be without you" (Milne, 1997, p. xx). This expression of friendship between Winne the Pooh and Piglet parallels one of the most commonly quoted statements from the study of positive psychology – 'other people matter' (Peterson, 2006). Research has repeatedly shown cultivating positive relationships with other's in our lives to be the single most critical element in contributing to our overall well-being. The benefits of relationship stretch far beyond the warm emotions we experience in cuddling up to our partner to indulge in a glass of wine by the fire. In addition to our psychological well-being, relationships have been shown to have direct impacts on our physical health.

So, if you are sitting on the fence of whether or not it is worth investing your time in couples counseling or participating in one of our upcoming couples workshops, let me share with you some great reasons why you should invest in those who invest in you!

  1. Not surprising, marriage is a stronger indicator of happiness than satisfaction with job or finances.
  2. Interpersonal relationships can buffer us from disease and the effects of stressful events by providing us with a variety of social supports.
  3. A correlation has been shown between keeping socially engaged and putting family first to living longer lives.
  4. Relationships and work groups contribute to our well-being by providing us with a sense of meaning.
  5. In a give and receive scenario, the givers - those in our relationships who are generous with their time, energy, knowledge, skills, ideas, and connections - have been shown to have greater well-being benefits in comparison to the receivers.

One technique for fostering positive relationships is through expressing admiration, appreciation, and affection in our partnerships. Another is through spending quality time together in ways that encourage loving communication, connection, and good old fun! Did you know play is a hard-wired connection builder? When was the last time you goofed around as a couple?

Join us at an upcoming couples retreat and we will provide you with the tools and strategies to get the most out of your relationships!

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How to Ask Your Partner to go to Therapy


Making the invitation for change

"If we go to therapy they are just going to tell us what is wrong with us. We just need to make more of an effort and commit to change ourselves."

I have a confession to make.

That was me speaking many years ago in my own relationship and like a typical guy, I believed that we just needed to make more of an effort.

Which was true, but I was resistant to seeing a professional. I felt shame about being in the counselling and personal development field and needing help in my own relationship.

Why couldn't we figure it out on our own, I thought.

The truth is that a lot people who talk about getting help don't because one partner is just too resistant to getting help from a professional.

One day we will be at a stage in our culture where getting relationship strategies and skills will be just as normal as going to the gym, something that is considered good for your health and well-being.

So what does the resistant partner need in order to agree to go to counselling?

The answer is the right kind of encouragement. I suggest framing counselling as learning skills to build up your relationship muscle and ability to communicate more effectively.

I remember my teacher shaking her head at me with a gentle smile saying, "Ken nobody teaches us this stuff. It is not in the school systems, most of us did not have parents that modeled great communication and so how would you know how to recover (repair) and break these patterns"?

She was right and I knew it.

Since then my humility for the practice of creating good relationships has dramatically shifted.

First I needed to let go of pride, let go of the denial that things were going to change without new skills and see that could I really grow from the right help.

I had a sophisticated mind that had a great ability to rationalize, bargain and distance myself from the change I needed.

This is why I promote so much humility in the work I do with couples.

I share my own stories because I know we all get messy in relationships and I want to walk beside my clients as I teach this work and practice.

I do this so that my clients feel deeply aligned against what they do (behaviors) and not confuse that with who (self-worth) they are.

Seeing a professional feels like a really big deal and for many people it is. Often there is one partner that is leading the couple towards seeing the therapist and the other person is reluctant to go for professional help.

I believe that people's resistance to seeing a professional is because of shame and pride (sometimes control). People do not want to face the parts of themselves that show up when they are hurt, when they are angry and so on.

We need a paradigm shift in the therapy world that looks at couples therapy as something that is empowering and healing. Instead most people see couples counselling as a relationship failure.

Humility, in my mind, equals freedom and if both partners do this at the same time it can be quite liberating. What I mean by this is speaking the truth and speaking from your heart is a powerful catalyst for deeper connection and intimacy.

If you are having trouble starting the conversation try these tips. Remember this an invitation.

7 Tips for Inviting Your Partner to Therapy

1. Take a good inventory

Get a journal. Write down all your main points that you want to share with your partner.Remember to include what is positive and what your main points of desired change are.

Clarity is power. The clearer you are on where you stand, what challenges you face and your vision of the future, the greater the chance of you communicating that to your partner.

Remember this about capturing all your thoughts and ideas to help you get clear. Do not worry about the delivery yet.

2. Plant your feet and get grounded

Most of us lose our words and good senses when we are triggered or emotional. To get grounded take time to breathe deeply and know that you're choosing a different path today when you speak.

Tell yourself you are going to speak with love, compassion and understanding.

Plan ahead and tell yourself what you are going to do. For example "I am going to remain calm even if my partner gets triggered."

3. Timing is everything

Support yourself by giving your partner the right amount of space and time to consider all of the options. When you are ready to address your relationship with your partner always ask them when is a good time (co-creating) for you both to talk with one another.

Avoid ambushing your partner, that will always be a win/lose scenario.

4. Make your request an "Us Thing"

You want to communicate to your partner that this is not about blaming them for what is happening. Rather you want them to firmly understand that you are on their team, you want both of you to learn new tools and strategies to access the best of both you.

Approach with 'we created this dynamic together' and seek to understand their perspective once you are in the conversation.

5. Try not to get offended

If you hear your partner say "no way" or something that resembles defensiveness, try your best not to join in that energy of resistance. It is easy to get triggered if your partner first rejects your first attempt to request counselling.

One of the hardest practices in any relationship is not joining your partner when they are upset or resistant.

6. Remember you are always communicating

If you want your partner to sense that you are on the same team, then you will need to remind yourself who your partner is to you before you talk to them.If we are being judged, we feel it. If we are being blamed, we feel it.

Exercise: Before having this conversation try taking a photo out from a time when you were deeply in love and remind yourself that your partner is someone of significance to you.

7. Don't hold a gun to your partners head

Try to approach softly and detach from outcome. Give them a chance to join you. If they do not share your truth about what you perceive will happen if things do not change in the relationship.

If you do this properly, this will be perceived as an honest statement (goal is as an invitation) rather than a threat. The goal is have your partner receive this as an invitation for positive change.

I cannot tell you how often I hear "I wish we started this a long time ago".

Share with your partner that therapy is about learning new positive tools and skills to communicate better.

If you are struggling to invite your partner to couples therapy, I am happy to have free phone consultation with you.



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Meet Ken

Ken is a certified psychotherapist that specializes in a powerful approach called Gestalt Therapy that focuses on building a person's awareness, self-esteem and mind-body connection.

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Explore your concerns in a warm, safe, and non-judgmental environment.

My offices are located in Calgary, Alberta.

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