“Human sexual fantasy is limitless!”
“Human sexual fantasy is limitless!”
My partner and I are in a sexless marriage – will couples therapy help?
New York is an expensive place to live, and therapy in New York might be a bit higher than what you’d find elsewhere in the world. A big disconnect is that therapists, being in the helping profession, are expected to offer their services to anyone at any cost. The reality is many therapists are in private practice, which are actually businesses. That means that they have to set a rate that will help them cover the costs of having an office in Manhattan, and whatever other overhead they may have as well as include enough left over to pay student loans and the other bills that we all have. So should you expect to pay $500 an hour for therapy in Manhattan? No way! If your therapist charges that much, that says a lot more about the therapist than it does the efficacy of their work. MyTherapist New York charges up to $145 per person per session and offers a sliding scale based on your financial situation. For more information, visit http://www.mytherapist.info/rates
Great discussion of these issues that often come up in couples therapy.
MyTherapist New York therapists use two styles of psychotherapy in couples counseling and individual therapy. Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) helps get a handle on identifying your thinking about a particular situation and challenging it with more balanced thinking. Imago therapy gives couples insight into what influences their relationships, and how they can better communicate their frustrations to each other in a more empathetic way. These two styles of therapy overlap nicely by giving a bit of insight into relationship difficulty as well as some effective tools to change the relationship patterns that don’t seem to be working well.
These two interventions focus more on the here and now than on childhood or unconscious desires (called psychodynamic or psychoanalytic therapy). Couples often come to therapy expecting to talk about every fight they have ever had, putting the therapist into the role of judge and jury. Fighting your usual fights with a therapist in front of you is not therapy. Couples therapists sometimes alternate between individual and couples sessions in order to give each partner the chance to express their pain in a safe way, but the ultimate goal is to work with the relationship with each partner present, focusing on solutions and creating new, more effective patterns instead of rehashing old fights and opening old wounds.
Couples therapy is also not about confessing every secret of your relationship “to a complete stranger” (we hear that one a lot). Couples therapy is about starting with what you want in your ideal relationship, and moving from right now towards that ideal relationship, if you’re able to do it with what you have right now. The implication here is that although we are called “marriage and family therapists”, we have no moral attachment to the word “marriage”, and saving your marriage at all costs. A marriage, like any relationship, is a commitment, and if you can prove to yourself that you are still invested in this relationship, great! If not, then we want to work on dissolving the relationship over a handshake (or ideally, a hug and a kiss), rather than using attorneys for more emotional jousting.
People often become comfortable with their suffering, finding ways to cope with their unfulfilling relationships, sometimes for years. You don’t have to suffer. Move towards achieving your ideal relationship and take a step towards happiness!
It can be a difficult decision to decide to come to couples therapy. It can be even more difficult finding a good couples therapist in New York that will be effective, affordable, empathetic, well-trained and generally not a flake. Forget using your insurance, couples therapy isn’t covered by insurance in New York. So what next? You probably just had some sort of crisis, and are near a breaking point. Either that or you just feel stuck and like the relationship is holding you back, holding you down. The last thing you probably want to a therapist (complete stranger) about is your finances. You probably never dreamed of talking to a sex therapist about your unfulfilling sex life.
Modern couples therapy (even with the un-modern title of “licensed marriage and family therapist”) isn’t about saving your relationship at all costs. That implies some underlying belief that this relationship is meant to last for all eternity, and that you are a failure if you can’t make it work. No, modern couples therapy is about learning a bit about yourself, a bit about your partner, a bit about your patterns, and just seeing what the relationship is right now, not what it was, not what other people think it should be. Just what it is. Working on accepting the reality of the situation is a great basis for beginning couples therapy work. If you decide, after going through a process of therapy, that this isn’t the relationship for you anymore, then the therapist can help you through the process of dissolving your relationship amicably, rather than hating each other for the rest of your lives. You fell in love and started the relationship- it can end with love, too.
I say this not to imply that couples therapy will end your relationship. Quite the contrary! Being dedicated enough to go to therapy together actually bodes quite ell for your relationship and you can learn things that will revolutionize your intimate life with this person that you are trying to spend as much time as possible with, without losing yourself or driving each other crazy.
It’s not impossible.