Let's face it. When it comes to getting men to go to couples counseling, it's often a battle that leaves a lot of women pulling their hair out in frustration.
Its seems that a lot of men react to the word therapy in the same way they react to the word vasectomy; squirming, as images of pain and suffering flood their minds. The writhing is very similar to the reaction one sees when men hear those four dreaded words, we need to talk.
When my telephone rings regarding scheduling an appointment for couples counseling, 90% of the time it is the wife or girlfriend calling. Often, the woman states that she is having a hard time getting her husband/boyfriend to agree to go to counseling. After answering her questions, she states that she'll talk to her husband and have him give me a call.
Rarely do I ever receive that call. Or, she will make the decision to schedule an appointment. Often on the day of the appointment, she'll call to cancel the appointment stating that her husband just called and "has to work late and he can't make it." I may or may not ever hear from her again. In order to help you get your mate to session, here are some strategies to use to try and solve this problem.
Approach your partner at a time when he has some free time and research therapists together.
The majority of my clients find me through the Internet. There are quite a few referral sources out there. Look at potential therapists together. Talk about what you hope to get out of therapy and what you hope that a therapist will provide you. Should the therapist be male or female? What would be the best time to go?
Does the therapist have weekend appointments? Try to be as specific as possible in order to give your man a sense of equal participation. This will help him to buy into the concept that going to therapy may yield positive results and won't be the torture that he imagines.
Once you have agreed on a therapist, make the call together.
Most therapists use an answering machine or service, so you'll be leaving a message. Leave your mate's cellphone number as the number for the therapist to call. In this way, he is now going to be asking the questions and deciding when to make an appointment.
If after talking to the therapist he states that he didn't like the way the therapist sounded, go back to step one and start the process again. Don't let time pass. Do it as soon as he lets you know. Continue this process until he schedules an appointment.
The day before the appointment, remind your partner of the session.
As you remind your partner of the up coming session, let him know that you're interested in solving problems;not in complaining about him. Let him know that you're going to be looking at your own issues as well, and that you really appreciate the fact that he is doing something that he may not be looking forward to doing.
If he does have a legitimate reason to cancel, have him call the therapist.
If your man really can't make it to the session, insist that he call not only to cancel the session, but to reschedule as well. Let him know what times you have in the next few days and reiterate how you are looking forward to working to make your relationship better, not to complain about him.
I hope that these strategies will help you to get that resistant partner in to therapy. It has been my experience that a lot of the men who had been resistant to coming were excited to see that I was on the side of the relationship and not either individual; that I was vested in solutions and not looking for who was to blame. At the end of the session, he was the one asking, "when can we come back." I love to see the look on the wife's face in that moment!