During an interview with Today co-host Carson Daly on Friday, Pink revealed that she and husband Carey Hart have been in couples counselling for nearly 17 years and that she believes it is what has helped their relationship thrive. This was exciting news for myself as a couple therapist and as a couple who have experienced the benefits of couple therapy myself with my gorgeous husband, Skip.
As I basked in the excitement of how many more celebrities are coming out about their own relationship issues and how they are just like everyone of us who struggle in relationship at times, I began to read the comments. Now, they say don’t read the comments, right? and so many people were posting things like “if they need couple therapy they better move on” or “why drag the kids through all their problems, count their loses and stop the suffering for everyone” and the comments went on and on. Then it really hit me that societies reality believes that if a couple is having problems they mustn’t love each other anymore or they don’t care enough about the kids or they just don’t try hard enough.
When Pink spoke about her couple therapy with her husband it’s kind of like she felt it was a “life-line”. It is what she believes has kept them together. So, I wanted to write this to just set a few things straight around reasons why couples get therapy.
Couples get couple therapy because their “love” is so strong that they don’t want to lose the very person who has made them feel enlivened, engaged, in touch with their own needs, energised sexually, re-invigorated spiritually and just plain old happy! It is more about staying connected and the truth that “breaking up is hard to do!” and that moving on is heartbreaking and difficult.
Couples come to therapy because:
they didn’t have the role models needed to know how to navigate relationships.
they grew up in environments that were filled with terror, fear or inconsistency so it was hard to develop an internal compass that makes “trust” easy.
they had parents whose parents didn’t know how to model “love, affection and connection”.
they grew up in homes where boundaries were not respected, whether it be in a mild way or in ways that violated them physically, mentally, sexually or spiritually.
they grew up with a depressed or addicted parent who did not have the resources, energy or level of engagement to show a child what “good love” is or feels like.
they lost a parent at a young age which stopped them reaching out or expecting love because the pain of their loss was so unbearable..
they ended up in a family that was blended with other children - new siblings, because mum or dad remarried. They were made second to the children who already lived in the new spouse’s home. This created the experience of “never being quite good enough” for love and equality.
their parents or caregivers didn’t know how to negotiate or manage conflict and therefore disagreements were escalated or both just withdrew and became disconnected.
they are blending families and need support on how to be a good role model to children on how to do it and how to make everyone feel safe, included and secure.
one of them has become ill or has experienced a serious injury.
they have lost a precious child.
they have their parents living with them or they live with their parents and it causes disruption and conflict. .
they run in to unexpected money issues like bankruptcy or loss a business.
one of them has lost a beloved parent or parents.
one of them has developed a mental illness.
one of them has an addiction.
one of them has experienced a violent attack or have developed PTSD from past issues.
they have a teenager experiencing worrying concerns.
their parenting style is different and causes issues between them.
they are a gay/lesbian couple and one has not come out to their parents.
maintenance on their marriage.
The list above can go on and on but more importantly couples come to couple therapy because “relationships are difficult”. When we come into relationship, we must learn that the “other” person has needs too. Sometimes strong needs, strong anxieties, strong wishes, strong inabilities, strong opinions, strong lack of boundaries at times and desires or wants that they may expect you at times to meet. This for a couple is difficult but it’s human nature. We are driven by what we want and desire naturally. It’s a primitive drive and unfortunately not one we can just wish away.
Couples need to learn to be in a “two-person psychological system” to really make a relationship or marriage work. Two persons meaning “what’s good for me is also good for you” and “true mutuality” and “is what we do fair, just and sensitive to my partner”. It’s what Dr. Stan Tatkin describes a Secure Functioning. A great place to start is using the five elements of the Couple Bubble listed here.
This does not come naturally and it’s simply because of how we are wired. Couple therapy helps each individual in the couple get a balanced perspective and it creates an environment where a person can think - “Do I consider my partner and the impact on them in most things I do or say”? For some of us the answer is no and couple therapy helps balance the playing field which helps both in the couple feel safe and secure. With safety and security as the foundation of a relationship both can thrive!
Melissa’s Instagram post on 28th April 2019 - Such an inspiration for Pink to say that what has kept her marriage to Carey Hart solid is #coupletherapy. Couple therapy does not mean a #couple is doomed and should just move on. For most in couple therapy it is more to do with how much they #love 💕 each other but the internal blueprint on how to be in #relationships may not be strong due to how a couple have been shaped in the families. Often they grew up in which modelling relationships often is not optimal. Parents and caregivers do their best but often the experience for children is not “good enough” to know how to navigate #marriage positively. Couple therapy is for those that know relationships are hard and good #professional help can help lively and loving hearts ♥️ stay connected for themselves and their families. #Pink you once again #rock.
For more tips, daily quotes and information about love, dating, relationships and happiness visit my Facebook page Melissa Ferrari - Psychotherapist & Relationship Expert. Also available is information about couple therapy and how it can help your relationships.