Many people struggle with the question of whether it is possible to do couple’s work when one partner won’t attend. Or to fix a family relationship when some don’t believe they need therapy, and some do.
I agree that it’s hard.
But it’s far from impossible.
It is easy to think that the problem in a marriage is the husband, or it’s the wife. And, except in cases of abuse, it usually isn’t either. It’s the relationship.
In a family, we usually find one person gets labelled as “the problem”. They may have a problem, or trigger a problem for others, but if a family has a problem, it’s the family relationship that needs help.
It’s the patterns of how each reacts to the other. It’s the habits of thought and action, the beliefs, the cycles, and how each person perceives them.
And a pattern gets broken as soon as one person changes. A habit goes away when someone stops doing their part of that thing. A cycle depends on getting the expected feedback, and both beliefs and perceptions can change with new ideas or evidence.
Any of those things can be changed by one person.
So don’t despair. You may not be able to fix everything by yourself. But lately, I’ve been seeing people who are making amazing changes in their marriages and families and friendships, all by themselves.