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Debunking Marriage Myths: Counseling is for LGBTQ Couples, Too!
Debunking Marriage Counseling Myths: “Couples Therapy is Only For Straight Couples”
By now, you might have noticed that most marriage therapy content online refers to straight couples by default. And when you picture couples who pursue counseling together, you might not picture an LGBTQ couple. Do LGBTQ couples have the same struggles as straight couples? Can they also benefit from marriage counseling?
Today, you will learn about some of the misconceptions about LGBTQ couples and couples therapy. You will learn the things LGBTQ and straight couples have in common, and what they do differently. And finally, you will learn how marriage counseling is for everyone; not just straight couples.
Are LGBTQ Couples Really All That Different?
If you are wondering that too, then you are not alone! In fact, John Gottman, a well-known marriage and family researcher, wondered the same thing. Do LGBTQ couples operate differently? How do they problem solve? Do all couples have the same concerns and problems? To answer these questions, he conducted a twelve year long study with gay, lesbian, and straight couples in order to observe how each group handled conflict and communication. (Source).
Gottman said that “gay and lesbian couples, like straight couples, deal with everyday ups-and-downs of close relationships. We know that these ups-and-downs may occur in a social context of isolation from family, workplace prejudice, and other social barriers that are unique to gay and lesbian couples”. (Source) In other words, your LGBTQ relationship will encounter very similar challenges and successes to those of straight couples. (Related Article: How to Make the Most out of Marriage Counseling).
Strengths of LGBTQ Couples
As part of an LGBTQ couple, you also have unique advantages and strengths, according to Gottman’s research. He found that LGBTQ couples are more likely to use humor to resolve conflict. He also noted that LGBTQ couples are less likely to use controlling tactics in arguments. (Source) (Related article: Team Building in Marriage Counseling)
In other words, as part of an LGBTQ couple, you likely deal with unique and challenging social barriers from outside of the relationship. But when it comes to challenges within the relationship, you and your partner are more likely to work together as a team and avoid power struggles. (Related article: Marriage Counseling- Resilience).
Marriage Counseling is for Everyone
If you are in an LGBTQ relationship, you will still encounter the challenges and struggles of any other couple. But, you can use the unique strengths mentioned above to your advantage.
That’s where marriage counseling comes in. Contrary to popular belief, marriage counseling can be helpful for LGBTQ couples, too. A therapist can help you navigate the stresses and difficulties that come with your life together. And a therapist can even help you process some of the bigger social issues you and your partner face as members of the LGBTQ community.
In couples therapy, you will have a safe place where you will work with a clinician to be heard, understood, and receive useful tools that you can use to improve your life together. Ready to find a therapist that understands LGBTQ couples and relationships? Contact us today to start marriage counseling in Orem, South Jordan, or Spanish Fork, Utah.
Written by Lauren Adkins