25 Brutally Honest Confessions From Relationship Counselors

    We won't tell you whether you should break up.

    Special thanks to the couples therapists who provided intel and anecdotes for this post: Irina Firstein, LCSW, Rachel A. Sussman, LCSW, and Jean Fitzpatrick, LP.

    1. We aren't judges and therapy isn't a courtroom.

    2. And we also won't tell couples whether they should break up.

    3. The most common reason couples come in is because they have "communication problems" — and that means something different for everyone.

    4. It's not our job to change either partner.

    5. Most of the time, there's not one "problem person" in a couple — it's how both people are together.

    6. But of course, sometimes, one person is the source of most of a relationship's problems.

    7. We see people who have fallen out of love all the time, and it's actually not always a deal-breaker.

    8. If you come to see us, you should be prepared to talk about how you are contributing to the relationship's problems.

    9. Too many people wait until their relationship is imploding to go to therapy and we really, really wish they wouldn't.

    10. Sometimes couples break up during sessions.

    11. We're only human so yup, we get frustrated when clients don't take responsibility for their actions, or challenge our authority or are rude to us.

    12. We also get caught in the crossfire a lot when patients take out their anger and frustration on us.

    13. And yeah, sometimes we don't like our clients. But luckily, that's pretty rare.

    14. Needing therapy isn't a sign of failure, or a sign that you should just break up.

    15. In fact, conflict in a relationship isn't a bad thing and couples therapy gives you a chance to be a better partner and know each other more deeply.

    16. We probably won't "fire" a client or deem them a lost cause — but we miiight suggest they try individual therapy for a while before circling back to us.

    17. We don't answer clients when they ask, "Do you think we can make it?"

    18. Same goes for, “Have you ever seen anything like this before?” or "Are we the worst case you've ever seen?"

    19. Just going to therapy won't necessarily help; you have to participate.

    20. You shouldn't expect fast changes if you're working on deep-rooted patterns that have been a problem for years.

    21. That said, for some people, therapy doesn't have to be a long-term commitment.

    22. Being a relationship therapist doesn't automatically mean we have great love lives ourselves.

    23. Some of the most valuable things we teach clients are little ways to incorporate connection and gratitude into their relationships.

    24. Frankly, the job can be very hard and draining.

    25. But at the end of the day, it's really rewarding to help couples work toward being happier and healthier — whether together or apart.