Yes, we meet individuals alone to work on relationships. Sometimes people need to figure out what they want for themselves, or sometimes they are clear that they want to improve their relationship.

Often, changes one partner makes will produce beneficial changes in another partner’s reactions to them. When they see this happening, they may be encouraged to begin attending.

However, while it is not so difficult to transition from joint to individual therapy, or to arrange both types of sessions from the start, it is more difficult to move from individual to joint therapy. This is because, after you start on your own, your partner may be more resistant to your attempts to include them, thinking the therapist will be “taking your side.” It is much better to make every effort to include your partner from the start. (The two of you may also later begin couples therapy with a new therapist.)

You will have a better chance if you carefully and thoughtfully approach and encourage your partner to attend. See my blog post “How to Invite Your Partner to Couple Counselling” for helpful suggestions on how to approach and present this to your partner.