Couples Counselling is not the Answer if Your Partner is Abusive

In recent years, there’s been growing awareness surrounding the importance of mental health support within relationships. From communication issues to trust concerns, couples therapy has been a beacon of hope for many struggling partners. However, it’s crucial to recognize that there are limits to its efficacy, especially when a partner is abusive. 

Intimate partner violence is a harrowing reality for far too many women. It encompasses a range of behaviours aimed at gaining power and control over a partner, including physical, emotional, and psychological abuse. In such situations, seeking couples therapy is not just ineffective; it can be dangerous. 

Despite the well-intentioned efforts of therapists, the dynamics of abuse present unique challenges that traditional couples counselling cannot adequately address. In fact, attempting therapy in such circumstances may inadvertently enable the abusive behaviour or put the victim at further risk. 

It’s essential to understand that abuse is not a product of relationship issues that can be resolved through communication and compromise. It’s a deeply ingrained pattern of behaviour rooted in the abuser’s need for dominance and control. Couples therapy, which often focuses on mutual understanding and compromise, can inadvertently minimize the severity of the abuse and place undue pressure on the victim to “fix” the relationship. 

Instead of couples therapy, victims of abuse need specialized support tailored to their unique circumstances. BWSS provides wrap-around support and supports survivors to address the trauma and regain a sense of safety and freedom.  

It’s crucial that we recognize the signs of abuse and provide avenues for intervention and support. This includes educating ourselves and others about the red flags, healthy relationships, and dismantling societal norms that perpetuate power imbalances and gender-based violence.  

As we approach Violence Prevention Week, We are dedicated to garnering support to end gender-based violence. This is an excellent opportunity to engage with BWSS as we release resources and action steps on violence prevention. Please follow us on Instagram @EndingViolence and subscribe at

Couples Therapy Is NOT the Answer if Your Partner is Abusive