Q: My husband sees a therapist, sometimes I am allowed in the room sometimes I am not. I feel uncomfortable when I am in the room, should I? And is it important for me to be present, it’s not couples therapy.
A: That is a great question, particularly if you are unfamiliar with therapy or the therapeutic process. Although individual therapy is one-on-one treatment with a therapist, there are times when the person in therapy or even the therapist him or herself finds that it is beneficial for the loved one to be present whether the reason for treatment is directly related to the relationship or not.
Being present in the room can serve to assist your husband by allowing him to bring you in on the process so you can better understand what he is going through. He may also want you there to lean on for support. That said, there are also times when therapy is better served in private, and it is in those times when you would not be asked in. This doesn’t mean that it involves you or that he doesn’t want you to hear what is said. The presence of another person outside of group or couples therapy can affect treatment goals, disclosure of information or even the dynamic during therapy.
In terms of whether you should feel uncomfortable, let me first say that your feelings of discomfort are completely understandable. Sitting in a room listening to your husband speak with a professional about his innermost thoughts could bring on some uneasiness. But as a therapist, I can say that you have nothing to feel uncomfortable about. Keep in mind that you have been welcomed into the therapy process and your input and support are not only respected but sought after. This is not uncommon practice but that doesn’t make it any easier. I hope this helps. If you continue to feel uncomfortable, discuss it with your spouse. Best of luck to you both. I’m sure that he appreciates your presence and support as he moves through treatment and you will both be better for it in the end.
Wishing you good health,