The Experience of Being Partnered With a Couples Therapist: A Qualitative Inquiry
Miller, Christine Marie
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This qualitative phenomenological study explored the experience of being in a romantic relationship with a couples therapist. Fourteen spouses participated in semi-structured interviews. Data were analyzed using descriptive phenomenology and themes were identified through meaning units. A majority of spouses experienced ambiguity on whether aspects of their couple relationship were influenced by their therapist partner’s profession or their therapist partner’s personality. Aspects of the therapist partner’s career did spillover into the couple’s relationship, such as limited time spent together, finances, confidentiality, and their therapist partner’s relationship expertise. Spouses talked about the benefits of their therapist partner’s expertise to their couple relationship, such as their therapist partner’s advice and relational skills. At the same time that spouses wanted their therapist partner’s expertise to be present in the couple relationship, spouses also did not want their therapist partner to be their therapist. Nevertheless, spouses felt pride and protectiveness of their therapist partner’s profession. Spouses helped their therapist partner by supporting, listening, and encouraging their partner’s profession. Clinical implications and directions of future research were addressed.
- Masters Theses