The belief that each individual should have their own therapist, as well as a separate couple’s counselor, comes out of a specific therapeutic philosophy. This may be a valid approach but as I see it there are several disadvantages:
- It is more expensive to maintain several therapists.
- There is a lot more time spent in therapy, which has not been shown to be more effective.
- Different therapists may give contradictory information.
- Systems theory maintains that there is no distinction between couple and individual issues; everything exists within the relationship process and context.
- Creating more therapeutic triangles may calm the system down in the short run but over time it is more likely for the family to develop a dependence on the therapists, and even to avoid dealing with difficult issues within the family.
While in couple’s therapy you will alternate between individual and joint meetings. This facilitates the ability to learn from your partner’s perspective while allowing space to focus on your individual goals.