In a recent interview with the NY Times, ACLU’s David Cole was asked how he stays optimistic in the face of his difficult work. “I fundamentally believe that hope is more the consequence of action than its cause. It seems to me you have two choices in this life, you can be a fatalistic spectator, or you can engage and produce hope.” His answer really struck me, and I’ve been thinking about how difficult it can be to take that first step into the therapy room and how powerful that step can be in generating hope and change. Going to therapy, especially couples therapy, produces hope.
Couples therapy in particular can seem daunting. Fear of losing the person closest to you is overwhelming. Feeling unhappy and uneasy in your most intimate relationships can impact you in so many ways: your ability to function at work, how you feel about yourself, and your overall enjoyment of life. Seeking help from a therapist can bring its own set of worries. Asking for help is a challenge for so many, and it can feel scary to invite a stranger into your relationship and to be seen at your most vulnerable. In fact, many couples are afraid to go to couples counseling for fear it will end their relationship.
A good couples therapist sees not only the hurt and disappointment you are experiencing, but also the strength and resilience that you and your partner each bring to the relationship. When you are in the middle of a very difficult time with your partner, it can be nearly impossible to clearly see the cycle you are engaged in. Working with a therapist can help you both to slow down and step back so that you can identify the cycle and what drives it. It can be the beginning of finding your way out of it and into a closer, more meaningful connection. You may be feeling that you’ve waited too long to ask for help, but I would encourage you to reach out. That first step into the therapy room could be just enough to restore a little hope and set you on the path the relationship you want.