“A counselor can’t fix this, so what’s the point of therapy?” Not all of your problems are fixable, that’s just a fact. When you’re struggling with a relatively small problem, like you spilled coffee on your laptop, you resign yourself to buying a new one and you move on with your life. It’s a significant expense and a hassle, but you handle it. Unfortunately though, it’s not always that simple. Some relatively common and seemingly unfixable problems are much more painful and impactful. Like, when your partner is unfaithful, chronically depressed, or they’ve lost all interest in sex. In these situations, it’s easy to feel helpless and hopeless. With no solution evident, it may be tempting to withdraw inwards and just soldier on. This is a lonely and depressing choice, and frankly, one likely to bring you even more pain as you shoulder the burden alone.
Just because a problem isn’t solvable doesn’t mean you can’t find some relief.
So often, couples avoid therapy for years because they see no benefit to talking about their struggles. The end result is partners become only more distant and isolated from each other. Misunderstandings fester and grow. Avoidance really can make a bad situation even worse.
A wiser approach would be to find ways to begin a dialogue together. In situations where emotions run high, it’s almost guaranteed that you and your spouse are misinterpreting and thus misunderstanding each other. You both are making false meanings out of what is being said and not said, done and not done. This only adds to the drama and confusion of your situation. Additional confusion means more pain down the road. Therapy can be a very effective way to alter this path.
Therapy helps couples communicate about highly emotional issues in a calmer, safer way. Therapists can help you articulate feelings and concerns that even you don’t understand. They can help you recognize how powerful feelings in the present may be connected, and thus intensified, by challenges from your past. Therapists can teach you how you are coming across to your partner. It’s easy to believe that we are acting a certain way toward our partner when the reality of our words, tone, and actions are impactful in a very different way. And therapists can help couples identify compromises that aren’t otherwise evident. When emotions run high, we tend to see the world in black and white terms. Reality, however, is filled with shades of grey.
The title of this blog post probably caught your eye because you are burdened by an unfixable problem. Unfixable problems are a part of life for us all. But there still is much you can do to lighten your burden. I wouldn’t be a therapist for a living if my work wasn’t helpful. Give therapy a chance and see for yourself.