Many people do not want to be labeled with any sort of mental disorder because they are concerned about the impact these labels will have on other aspects of their lives. But even those who have such diagnostic labels often do not want their diagnosis to be the focus of their couples treatment.
Sometimes their spouses have blamed them unfairly, for years, as being “the problem” in the marriage. While prior bouts of mental illness can sometimes be an issue in marriage, this isn’t always the case. Most of us seeking couples therapy do not want to be considered “the problem” in the marriage. They want to be considered an equal participant, a sane person, who should be respected and listened to, not labeled the “sick one” (however benevolent the intentions might be) who needs help.
Sometimes a spouse will have an undiagnosed mental disorder. A thorough evaluation will determine this. If so, they will be referred to a skilled practitioner who will provide them with appropriate treatment, and their health insurance provider will be billed. This is appropriate and often very helpful to the couples therapy.
I guess the answer to that depends on your politics. If 40% of people looking for help are looking for couples therapy, that is a lot of payouts, and that means insurance premiums may rise.
Dr. K has served on the Executive Board of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists for three terms. Our mission is to explore how to provide couples counseling (V61.01) to everyone. An argument can be made that functioning, healthy families reduces overall medical costs.
But we believe we are a long way off from seeing that goal become a reality. Much as we all might wish it were so.