Chances are good that you or someone you love is in therapy: There are more than 54 million people seeking therapy in the US and that number is growing. You can attend specialized therapy sessions for nearly every mental illness or type of problem you want to discuss, from addiction to treatment for postpartum depression.
But one type of therapy many people can benefit from is relationship therapy. And while it might seem suited for a couple or a group of people to attend together, many therapists insist that attending relationship therapy as a single person can be hugely beneficial for your future and present relationships.
This type of therapy received major attention after the current star of "The Bachelorette," Rachel Lindsay, discussed with one of her contestants how they both separately sought out relationship therapy after a breakup. They sang its praises, saying the therapy affected how they saw themselves and the qualities they look for in a partner.
Therapy holds you accountable for your actions. It makes you examine why you do the things you do and will help you think about how your actions can affect others — something that is invaluable in a romantic relationship.
"I n order to grow your character and enhance the understanding you have of yourself, you must be in conversation with a person who challenges you at a core level, who encourages you to drop your defenses and get honest about why you are the way you are and who you long to become," breakup coach Chelsea Leigh Trescott told INSIDER.
"By going to relationship therapy at a time when you are not in a committed partnership, you are creating a dynamic that holds you accountable for self-inquiry and that inquiry will inevitably make you a more substantial candidate for love," she continued.
Going to a relationship-specific therapist can help you examine both your romantic and familial relationships and how they intertwine. Single people can often have wounds from childhood or their upbringing that they need to examine before they can have a healthy relationship — after all, we've all heard the old adage that people date partners like their parents.
"We have the training to explore patterns within a person's family of origin and previous relationships that may impact them in the present day," therapist Cassie Len told INSIDER. "As couples therapists, we find that people seek out partners who remind them of their primary caregivers in order to replay old childhood wounds in hopes of a different outcome. When I see individuals for therapy, I feel it is important to process those wounds in order to change future interactions with partners."
Going to relationship therapy also shows that your most important relationship is with yourself. Showing self-care and self-love will inevitably improve your relationship with others because you can't love anyone else without first loving yourself.
"Going to therapy or hiring a coach while single is a form of self-care and preparation," life coach Lisa Concepcion told INSIDER. "Consistently working to improve oneself tells the universe you're self-caring and are serious about attracting a partner who is also self-caring."
You can start relationship therapy any time you feel you need it. Trescott encourages people to take that time following a breakup to start therapy if they can to really reap the "gifts" of a breakup.
"One reason I encourage someone coming out of a breakup to call a timeout for themselves and invest in relationship coaching is so they slow down and really receive the gift of a breakup," she told me. "The gift being, the chance to engage their own heart again and to reflect on why they love the way they love. Relationship coaching therefore keeps them from fixating so heavily on getting back out there and finding not only 'the one' but anyone."
And if you need a little help getting back into the dating scene, there is no one better than a relationship therapist to help you decide what you really want in a partner and to make sure you're confident enough to face the tough world of dating.
"When a single person enters into therapy alone and does not really wish to be alone, therapy can offer a great deal of support in helping them to explore what they are really looking for in a partner, help them gain confidence (if needed) to enter the dating scene successfully, and navigate dating in a healthy and positive way," therapist Alicia Taverner told INSIDER.
Therapy is not for everyone, but if you're looking to get your love life on track, don't shy away from relationship therapy just because you're not in one.
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