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The Benefits of Individual Therapy for Relationship Issues

Kristin Hall

Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP

Written by Rachel Sacks

Wondering about individual therapy for relationship issues? You’re in the right place.

If you’ve been thinking about starting individual counseling, you may already know the benefits of therapy. From identifying unhealthy thought patterns to building self-esteem, there are many positives to talking with a professional.

But beyond how therapy can help you as an individual, relationship therapy for singles can also be beneficial.

There are many reasons someone may not want to go to couples counseling — perhaps they’re embarrassed or maybe they don’t think it’s necessary. Regardless, you can still work on resolving issues and strengthening your relationship with your current partner through individual relationship counseling.

Below, we’ll explore the benefits of individual therapy for relationship issues as well as what to expect from therapy, how to find a therapist and more.

Why Should You Go to Therapy?

While it might seem counterintuitive to go to individual therapy for relationship issues, there can be benefits to individual relationship counseling.

Before we dive into individual relationship counseling, though, knowing when to go to therapy is a good place to start.

Relationship distress can be harmful to your and your romantic partner’s mental health, causing anxiety and other mood disorders.

The distress could be caused by several things, such as trust issues (or a lack of trust), frequent arguments, fighting, poor communication or the simple fact that something has changed in the relationship.

Of course, there doesn’t always have to be an issue like an affair or constant fighting to consider going to therapy. Those in healthy relationships may also go to individual or couples therapy as a form of relationship maintenance to prevent issues from arising or before making big life changes like marriage or parenthood.

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Differences Between Individual and Relationship Therapy

While the difference between individual counseling and couples therapy might seem obvious, there’s more to each of these types of therapy. Knowing the differences between these two types of therapy can help you figure out which one is best for you.

Individual therapy is psychotherapy or “talk therapy” that focuses on one-on-one interactions between you and a mental health professional. The individual typically spends therapy sessions reflecting on their emotions and behaviors to reduce symptoms or grow personally.

Couples therapy — which falls under the umbrella of relationship therapy, along with family therapy — attempts to resolve interpersonal conflicts affecting the relationship by treating both partners at the same time.

During two-on-one sessions, you may focus on one of you or problems between you and your partner. For example, if one of you has depression, you might work to learn how to date someone with depression and the best ways to manage this mood disorder.

Therapy with your partner may also focus more on your relationship communication skills, with the therapist suggesting ways you can improve how to interact with each other.

Whether you decide to go to couples therapy, individual counseling or another type of therapy, there are plenty of benefits to counseling in general. But in some cases, individual therapy for relationship issues could be a better fit.

Couples counseling tends to focus on both partners, while individual therapy may be best for issues outside the scope of the relationship.

Below, we’ve listed more benefits of individual therapy for relationship issues.

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Benefits of Individual Therapy for Relationships

Couples therapy may not be the right fit for your situation, but you can still gain insight into your issues and improve your romantic relationships with individual therapy.

Improved Communication

While couples therapy focuses more on how you and your partner communicate, individual relationship counseling can also help improve your communication in relationships.

Therapy can help you learn to listen, better understand if you misinterpret what someone says and figure out how to communicate respectfully.

You may also learn about different communication styles, which can help improve relationship communication skills.

Become a Better Person

Therapy can help you grow in many ways and become a better version of yourself. If you struggle with a mental health disorder like anxiety or depression, psychotherapy can be effective in treating both conditions.

If you deal with relationship anxiety, starting relationship therapy for yourself can help you figure out why you’re feeling anxious about your relationship and how to manage those feelings.

Or you’ll feel better overall. Talking about the past, present and future with someone can help reduce the stress you may not even realize you had.

Figure Out What You Want

Even if you’re not currently in a relationship, relationship therapy for singles can help you figure out what you want in a future partnership. You can also figure out what you want for yourself — relationship-wise and in life — and working with a therapist can help you achieve those goals.

Work Through Transitions

If you’re transitioning between roles in your relationship — girlfriend or boyfriend to spouse or divorce — or in your life, this change could be affecting your relationship and causing issues. Individual counseling can help you work through these role changes in your life and discover how they impact your relationship.

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Individual Therapy for Relationship Issues

Just as there are many benefits to therapy overall, individual therapy for relationship issues can have advantages.

From working through changing life roles or mental health issues to learning better communication tools, there are many upsides to individual relationship counseling, whether you’re in a relationship or not.

Curious if relationship counseling is right for you? Our guide on finding a therapist can help you get started. Or you can get connected with an online mental health professional to help find the right type of therapy for you.

7 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Whisman M. A. (2007). Marital distress and DSM-IV psychiatric disorders in a population-based national survey. Journal of abnormal psychology, 116(3), 638–643. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17696721/
  2. Bonior, A. (2017, September 19). Should You Go to Couples Therapy? Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/friendship-20/201709/should-you-go-couples-therapy
  3. Psychology. (n.d.). APA Dictionary of Psychology. Retrieved from https://dictionary.apa.org/individual-therapy
  4. Tomasulo, D. (2015, January 14). Differences Between Individual, Group, and Couples Therapy. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-healing-crowd/201501/differences-between-individual-group-and-couples-therapy
  5. Psychology. (n.d.). APA Dictionary of Psychology. Retrieved from https://dictionary.apa.org/couples-therapy
  6. Therapy for Communication Issues, Therapist for Communication Issues. (2019, August 26). GoodTherapy. Retrieved from https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/communication-issues
  7. Psychotherapy. (n.d.). NAMI. Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Treatments/Psychotherapy

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Kristin Hall, FNP
Kristin Hall, FNP

Kristin Hall is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with decades of experience in clinical practice and leadership. 

She has an extensive background in Family Medicine as both a front-line healthcare provider and clinical leader through her work as a primary care provider, retail health clinician and as Principal Investigator with the NIH

Certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, she brings her expertise in Family Medicine into your home by helping people improve their health and actively participate in their own healthcare. 

Kristin is a St. Louis native and earned her master’s degree in Nursing from St. Louis University, and is also a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. You can find Kristin on LinkedIn for more information.

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