Telka’s Couple’s Counseling Pre-test

Couple’s therapy is often requested by couples’ struggling with stress, frustration or crisis. Some have separated, have legal issues or other conflicts of interest. Just because couple’s work is requested, does not necessarily mean that couple’s work is the appropriate treatment choice. Couple’s therapy in general, has a relatively low success rate when therapists fail to screen for the appropriateness of the treatment. For couple’s therapy to be successful, several conditions apply. Use the test below to determine whether or not couples therapy is your best choice. Print your test results and discuss your results with the health care provider of your choice.

Below is a list of questions for each person in the partnership to answer.

Yes No 1. Are either of you distressed, upset, angry or frustrated with your own, or your partner's alcohol or drug use? (Are some of your arguments about alcohol/drug use or are arguments arising while impaired/intoxicated?)

Yes No 2. Do either of you fear emotional or physical abuse in this relationship? (Any history of anger outbursts, tantrums, name-calling, screaming, intimidation, bullying, rage, threats of violence or acts of violence?)

Yes No 3. Is an unstable mood ( jealousy, anxiety, worry, anger depression or paranoia) disturbing your ability to control your behavior or blocking your feelings of love or joy?

Yes No 4. Are either of you interested in using couples therapy as a forum to blame, complain or tattle about your partner? (Desire to use the therapist to make your partner change or to referee your fight?)

Yes No 5. Are either of you engaged in self-destructive or secretive activities that violate the trust in this relationship? (Excessive lying, gossiping, spending, shopping or gambling problems, porn addiction or illegal activity?)

Yes No 6. Do either of you have a third party involved in this relationship? (Overly involved in-laws, an unresolved former relationship, inappropriate texting internet relationships or a current affair?)

Yes No 7. Have either of you already decided to end the relationship rather than repair it? (ie; separation or divorce pending or filed? Wanting to attend couples therapy so you can say that you tried before you follow through with your plan to split?)

Scoring: “No” answers from each partner on every question indicates couple’s therapy is appropriate, assuming the couple has a shared, mutual goal for treatment.

“Yes” answers to any question indicates the recommendation of individual therapy until able to achieve “No” answers to all questions.

Author's Bio: 

2021 Bio update: Pronouns: She, her, hers. Telka Arend-Ritter LMSW has been serving the mental health needs of the Greater Lansing Community since 1985. Telka's brief, solution-focused, cognitive processing, cognitive-behavioral treatment model was designed specifically for stress, depression, anxiety and problem relationships. In 2006 her 11-week program was approved as 22 credits in Social Work continuing education. Telka's approach blends neuroscience with practical and effective coping skills, mindfulness, CBT, CPT, DBT, and ACT.
In 2007, after working 23 years an outpatient mental health hospital, Telka established a successful private practice with her spouse, also a mental health professional. In 2021 Telka transitioned into telehealth services exclusively from a home office. They have one adult daughter and two French Bulldog grand-pups.