Secret Agendas In Couples Therapy

By  | 

The ostensible reason to go to couples therapy is to improve the relationship but often the secret agenda is to have the therapist validate the belief that the other is fundamentally responsible for problems in the relationship. Both partners have this secret agenda going in.

The therapist is held up as an authority figure, a power broker who will be able to knock some sense into the offending party, into the person who is clearly at fault and who needs to change for things to improve.

But a relationship is not two monads in close proximity to one another, it’s an open system where each partner affects and is affected by the other to create a shared result that would be impossible without the input of both. Unless a couple can take on this viewpoint, that all problems are shared problems and all solutions are shared solutions, regardless of how problems supposedly originated, a successful outcome is unlikely.

It takes two to tango, and the perspective that one person can or should take on all the responsibility for fixing the relationship by changing is not only unreasonable but further deteriorates the felt sense of connection and intimacy. If couples truly are concerned with the health of their relationship, not with personal validation, then assigning blame should be secondary to looking for and implementing solutions. The real issue is moving from the adversarial attitude to the team attitude.