Ask an MFT is an opportunity to answer questions from my followers on social media who would like some insights into the world of marriage and family therapy on many different topics. I want to reassure my readers that their identities are protected. While I get many questions, not all of them are useful for the general public so I can only respond to a select few each time.
Q: What can I do if I don’t want to go to therapy, but I know that my relationship needs work?
Robin: The first thing I would recommend you do is to explore and write about what is going on in your relationship that needs to change. Therapy can be a very powerful experience to bring about change, but it is not always needed. Most research-informed therapists will tell you that the change that comes about in therapy is roughly 70% attributable to the client. You are the one doing the work, you are the one making active changes to the ways in which you are thinking about your life and the ways in which you are taking action to bring about change. Here are several questions to get you started:
Q: My primary care physician told me I could go on medication for my anxiety but the thought of taking meds is really off-putting. What else can I do besides taking meds?
Robin: With anxiety specifically, there are many different neurochemical changes that you can make to your brain starting today that does not involve medication. For example:
I know that a lot of people share your concern about taking medication. When I discuss the idea of beginning medication with my clients when it comes up, I like to first consider the possibility that it is a short-term intervention. In other words, yes, there are people who are on meds, and they will (likely) be on meds for the rest of their lives. You need not jump to this conclusion at the first mention of medication. Many clients have reported that they found it helpful to be on an anxiolytic or antidepressant for a short period of time in conjunction with psychotherapy to help them get over a mental hurdle they have been facing, and that proved to be just the thing that helped them find progress and change in treatment.
That’s all for now! I try to keep these short and sweet. I look forward to the next Ask an MFT segment!
Robin S. Smith, MS, LCMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in clinical practice in Bethesda MD, and specializes in relationship issues for couples, families, and individuals, for improved quality of life. His clinical specialties include: transition to parenthood for new and expecting parents, infidelity, sex and intimacy issues, premarital counseling, and trauma. Robin has given talks to various groups including hospital administrators, graduate students, therapists, and child birth educators. He is the primary contributor to Your Couples Therapist Blog.
Robin S. Smith is a psychotherapist practicing in Bethesda, MD. Robin created The Couple and Family Clinic Blog to provide useful articles on issues related to mental health as well as articles on local, national, and international news stories. Learn more about Robin on the About Page.