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Why Couples Therapy Is Not Only For When in Crisis

  • April 13, 2021

One misconception surrounding couples therapy, Dr. Katz said, is that people should only go when they’re in a severe crisis, toward the end of their relationship.

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On average, according to the Gottman Institute, most couples wait six years after identifying a problem before seeking therapy. “When couples wait until a breaking point, it is so much harder to have them come back together because the wounds can be so deep,” Dr. Katz said.

Dr. Katz notes the struggles in simply bringing two parties together from different backgrounds. “People are living together, they come from different worlds, different cultures, and they’re bringing in their differences and their ideas with them,” she said. The goal, she added, “is to know how to live with their own differences and appreciate them.”

Torie Fritz, 29, a teaching assistant at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., and her husband Luke Fritz, 33, a project manager, have been married for eight years. Differences in communication styles made it hard for the couple to communicate effectively, eventually leading them to see a therapist in 2019 at the suggestion of Ms. Fritz’s mother, who is also a therapist.

Ms. Fritz was raised in an assertive environment and would react to disagreements with anger and aggressiveness, while Mr. Fritz describes his family as more passive and would react to disagreements with avoidance.

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