If your partner is going to therapy, you may find yourself wondering how their therapy sessions are going, what they’re discussing with their therapist, whether they’ve talked about you, and how much progress they’re making. You may worry about whether your partner would appreciate your asking about their therapy sessions or whether they would consider it intrusive.
In this article, we shall discuss if it is right to ask my partner about their therapy sessions.
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Should You Ask About Your Partner’s Therapy Sessions?
Verywell Mind asked Meghan Marcum, PsyD, chief psychologist at AMFM Healthcare, whether it’s acceptable to ask one’s partner about their therapy sessions. “The answer can vary depending on the dynamics of each relationship,” says Dr. Marcum.
Some people may feel supported by their partner wanting to know about their progress and what they are working on in treatment. However, others may not feel like they want to share their emotional struggles or past traumas outside of therapy.
According to Dr. Marcum, these are some factors that can play a role in determining whether or not it may be acceptable to ask your partner about their therapy sessions:
- Relationship duration: If you and your partner have been together for a long time, they may be more comfortable discussing their therapy sessions with you. On the other hand, if the two of you have recently started dating, it may be too soon to ask them about it.
- Emotional closeness: If you and your partner are very emotionally close and share everything, it may be all right to ask them about their therapy sessions.
- Involvement in care: If your partner has a mental health condition and you’ve urged them to seek therapy or are actively involved in their care, they may want to share their progress with you.
- Reciprocity: If you regularly discuss your therapy sessions with your partner or if they have asked you about your sessions in the past, it could indicate that they’d be willing to discuss their therapy sessions with you.
Do’s and Don’ts to Keep in Mind
These are some do’s and don’ts that may come in handy while you have this conversation.
What to Do
Dr. Marcum shares some ways you can support your partner if they’re going to therapy:
- Ask how you can help: Ask your partner if there’s anything they need after their session. For instance, they may want some quiet time alone to process their thoughts and feelings. Or, they may need a distraction to help them feel better.
- Establish protocols: It may be helpful to ask your partner whether they are comfortable talking about their therapy sessions. If they are open to it, you can ask about their session each time they go to therapy. If they hint that they may not be, leave it alone and don’t pry. Respect their boundaries and let them choose what they would like to share with you.
- Be patient: Be understanding and accept that your partner may not want to share details from their session right away. Therapy can bring up a lot of difficult feelings and emotions.2 Be patient and give them the time and space they need to process their responses.
- Let them know you’re willing to listen: Let your partner know you are willing to listen if they ever want to share. Show them that you’re committed to supporting their mental health.
- Encourage the process: Committing to therapy can be challenging, so do what you can to support your loved one in their journey toward better mental health. Ask your partner if there’s anything you can do to help them achieve their treatment goals.
- Acknowledge their progress: If you notice improvements in your partner, mention it to them and compliment their progress. This can help reward their efforts and offer positive reinforcement that can motivate them.
- Be open to going to therapy: Be willing to seek your own therapy, go to your partner’s therapy sessions, or engage in couples therapy, if your partner’s therapist recommends it.
What Not to Do
Dr. Marcum shares some strategies that may not be helpful:
- Don’t assume it’s your right to know: Everyone is entitled to their privacy, including your partner. Don’t assume that they will share all their therapy discussions with you. Even if they choose to share with you occasionally, it doesn’t mean they have to do so every time.
- Don’t be concerned about whether they discussed you: Although it’s normal to wonder whether your partner discussed you or your relationship with their therapist, it’s not fair to pry. If you were discussing your partner with your therapist, you may not necessarily be willing to tell your partner everything you talked about either.
- Don’t worry about why they’re not sharing: Your partner may be dealing with difficult emotions or unresolved issues in therapy that they’re not ready to share with you. It doesn’t mean they care less about you. Try not to reframe the issue to make it about you or your relationship. Keep the focus on their mental health instead.
- Don’t try to solve your partner’s problems: Although you may want nothing more than to make your partner feel better, they may require professional help. Needing outside help does not mean they are weak or that you have failed as a partner. It simply means they are dealing with something that needs professional treatment. Understand that and support their efforts to improve their mental health.
- Don’t compete with their therapist: You may be unhappy with the fact that your partner isn’t sharing the details of their therapy sessions with you and wonder what they’re sharing with their therapist. You may even resent their therapist for their role in your partner’s life. However, it’s important to remember that your partner’s therapist is a healthcare professional, and though they may discuss deeply personal things, the relationship is nevertheless a professional one.
In summary, while you’re trying to figure out whether or not to ask your partner about their therapy sessions and how to show your support, it can be helpful to think about the situation in reverse.
How would you like to be supported by your partner if you were the one going to therapy? How much would you be willing to share with your partner? Asking yourself these questions can help you determine the best way to approach this situation.
I hope you find this article helpful as well as interesting.