What to do if your partner rejects the idea of couples counselling?

Maggie Morrow, counselling, CBT therapy, life coach and psychotherapist London. MSc Integrative Psychotherapy, BSc Psychology, Adv Dip, UKCP.
Author: Maggie Morrow, Award Winning Psychotherapist, Counsellor & Life Coach
Last updated: 8th March 2024


Annoyed couple ignoring each other


When relationships falter, couples counselling can illuminate a path forward. Perhaps communication has broken down or trust has been shaken. You may feel like you’re drifting apart or constantly arguing. Whatever it is, something feels off. At KlearMinds, our trained marriage counsellors help identify issues and concrete steps to rebuild a fulfilling bond. We create a safe space to understand each other again.

But what if your partner refuses counselling? They may be in denial about the problems in your relationship, blame you entirely or reject the idea of sharing their struggles with a stranger. Their hesitation is understandable – seeking help is courageous and vulnerable.

Even if your partner won’t participate fully, you can still initiate positive changes through understanding and adjusting your own actions and communication style, via individual relationship counselling. At the same time, full engagement from both parties in couples therapy can lead to really powerful breakthroughs. Let’s take a look at some of the most common concerns about couples therapy and some ideas on how to approach this sensitive topic with your other half.

‘There’s nothing really wrong with our relationship’

If your partner doesn’t see any major problems and is broadly happy with things as they are, they may not see the point in having couples counselling – even if you do.

If your partner says everything’s fine, empathise first, but share your perspective on ways connection has declined. Remind them even healthy relationships take proactive work and that both parties need to be happy. Approach it as a team activity with joint responsibility. Couples counselling provides tools to communicate with more understanding, trust and intimacy. It’s an investment in your shared happiness.

‘I don’t want to hurt his/her feelings’

Do you feel unhappy in your relationship but worry suggesting counselling will upset your partner? It’s hard when important conversations are shut down and problems go unaddressed. However, the danger is that resentment and disconnect will gradually increase over time. Reassure your partner that counselling isn’t about blame – it’s simply about gaining skills to communicate in a healthier, more understanding way. It comes from a place of caring about the relationship.

Couple Boundaries

‘I don’t want to provoke another argument’

It’s tempting to avoid hard conversations to keep the peace. However, suppressing issues will only increase resentment over time. If constant arguments or anger are tearing you apart, something needs to change. Gently suggest bringing in a counsellor to create a neutral space for healthy communication. With a compassionate mediator, you can both speak openly and feel truly heard. Reassure your partner that counselling isn’t about attacking each other, but fostering mutual understanding. With new communication tools, you’ll be better equipped to handle disagreements constructively.

‘They don’t believe in counselling’

It’s understandable for some to feel anxious or sceptical about counselling. Previous bad experiences or discomfort opening up can breed resistance. Some believe relationships shouldn’t need “help” if they’re meant to be. Once you know why your partner is so against the idea, you can empathise with their concerns and provide them with information which demonstrates how positive experiences and outcomes can be gained from couples therapy.

It can be difficult to encourage a reluctant partner to come along to a couple’s therapy session, but here are some possible avenues you could pursue:

  • Ask what reservations they have about counselling – maybe it’s a past bad experience or fear it leads to divorce? Address concerns with empathy and remind them that counselling builds skills for compassionate communication and teamwork.
  • Ask about their preferences. Maybe they’d feel more comfortable speaking with a male or female counsellor, or religious or secular. Would they prefer in-person or virtual sessions? Make it as convenient and comfortable as possible.
  • Ask if they would be willing to look at some counselling websites or read a book or blog post written by a therapist before booking. You could watch a YouTube video together or attend a lecture given by a therapist on a relevant relationship topic.
  • Ask if they would be OK to talk to a couple of counsellors over the phone, or go to an initial no-obligation meeting with a therapist. It’s an opportunity for both of you to discuss the problems you are encountering, see if you can build a useful rapport with a couple’s counsellor and understand how the process works.

Above all, it’s important to let your partner know how much it would mean to you if they agreed to do some of the actions mentioned above. Let them know how much happier and encouraged it would make you feel and, conversely, how sad you would feel if they chose not to engage.

What happens at your first appointment?

At KlearMinds, your initial couples counselling session is intended to create a space for each partner to voice their relationship struggles and preferences. Our therapists help couples identify goals and develop communication skills which provide foundations for growth. Rest assured, your story will be heard with complete confidentiality, sensitivity and without judgement. All relationships face challenges; we provide a safe space to work through them together.

It’s normal to feel apprehensive at first. Our experienced therapists listen equally to both partners. We’ll help you understand underlying issues, communicate constructively and rebuild trust. With compassionate guidance, you can gain new understanding and chart a positive path forward.

Healthy relationships take work but it’s important to remember that trials can strengthen bonds. If you’re questioning your relationship’s future, take courage. Let us help you reconnect on a deeper level or explore alternatives with clarity and care – contact us to book an appointment today.

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Maggie Morrow, counselling, CBT therapy, life coach and psychotherapist London. MSc Integrative Psychotherapy, BSc Psychology, Adv Dip, UKCP.

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