Therapy is often seen as a private place where one can discuss their thoughts, feelings, and concerns to a trained professional. It is meant to be a safe space—for many, this is the only space that person has to express themselves without any judgement from people they know. But what happens if the person in therapy has a partner? Should they share what happens during the therapy session with their partner? How does this change the dynamics in their relationship? In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of telling your partner what happens in therapy and when the time may feel appropriate to share.

The Pros of Taking Your Partner to Therapy with You

Seeing couples counseling and having your partner attend with you can provide a supportive, collaborative environment. It can help individuals with communicating in an open, honest, and respectful manner. Additionally, going to therapeutic sessions together can help with forming a deeper bond, increase communication, and foster communication and understanding. Here are some of the benefits of taking your partner to therapy with you:

• A mutually positive relationship change—Couples counseling offers a valuable opportunity for partners to learn more about each other and grow together in a collaborative, team-oriented approach.

• Strengthened communication—Having a trained professional help guide conversations between both partners can help strengthen communication and foster a deeper understanding.

• A boost in problem-solving skills—Having a third party give insight can help both partners learn to identify solutions to their issues quicker than when alone in a session.

The Cons of Taking Your Partner to Therapy with You

Having your partner join you in therapy is not always the best option. Research has found that attending couples therapy without an open dialogue may worsen communication issues, fail to provide solutions, or even increase tensions. Additionally, therapy may make one partner feel unheard or uncomfortable. Here are some of the drawbacks of taking your partner to therapy with you:

• Increased pressure—Adding another person to the session may make both partners feel more pressure to be on their best behavior.

• Discomfort—It may make one partner feel uncomfortable to divulge private problems to another person.

• Unresolved issues—If the partners already have a strained relationship, they may not be open to solutions, leading to unresolved issues.

Considering the Pros and Cons

When deciding whether or not to tell your partner what happens in therapy, it is important to consider both partners’ needs, desires, and expectations. Both parties need to be in agreement as to what is comfortable for them when it comes to sharing their feelings and experiences in the therapeutic environment. Here are a few things to consider when deciding if you should tell your partner what happens in therapy:

• Is this something both partners feel comfortable sharing?

• Do either of the partners feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable when discussing their issues?

• Are there any circumstances that may lead to the conversation escalating into an argument?

• How do both partners think this will affect the couple’s relationship?

Determining the Appropriate Time to Share

If the couple agrees that they are comfortable with one partner discussing what goes on in therapy with the other partner, there is still the question of when this should happen. Sharing too soon could lead to further tension or arguments between the couple. However, waiting too long could lead to the partner feeling like they aren’t a part of the process. Here are a few tips for determining the appropriate time to share:

• Don’t share immediately after a session. Take time to process the information from the session on your own before discussing it with your partner.

• Make sure there is enough mental and emotional space for both partners. If either partner is feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or angry, it may not be the right time to discuss the therapy session.

• Be mindful of how the other partner is interpreting the information. If either partner is interpreting what comes out of the session as criticism or an attack, it isn’t a good idea to continue the conversation.

• Ensure both partners are comfortable with the topic. If either partner feels like they can’t talk openly and honestly, it may be better to take a break and re-evaluate before continuing.

Whether or not to tell your partner what happens in therapy is an individual decision that depends on the individual and their relationship. There are many pros and cons to consider when deciding if it is appropriate to share information from the therapy session with your partner. Ultimately, it is important to have honest communication and be mindful of your partner’s feelings when sharing. By taking the time to consider the impact sharing may have on your relationship, you can create a deeper connection with your partner and open up new forms of communication.

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