Often when couples come into therapy there is individual counseling going on at the same time. Or perhaps one partner is in need of working on assertiveness skills, or wanting to understand individual issues which leads them to cheat repeatedly.
It is said that individual counseling is doing family therapy with a blindfold. Or it’s like two blind men exploring an elephant – one at the trunk and the other at the tail. There are two versions of reality when a couple comes into counseling. Working individually I only hear one. If the goal is to live in relationship with another, then the truth is where the two realities collide. What individual issues inform how one relates to another? Ideally in couples counseling there is some individual work going on with the partner present. This can facilitate empathy, understanding and intimacy. The goal is to promote individual growth WITH another – not in a vacuum.