The number of relationship therapists has grown exponentially in recent years: “Working on your relationship is less of a taboo”

210 percent. It’s the increase in the number of couples therapists in the past nine years, according to Chamber of Commerce figures. Experienced therapists and experts believe that this is because there are fewer and fewer taboos on couples therapy.

There was a taboo at work on your relationship, but that seems to be a thing of the past. And couples therapists respond to this: in recent years, more and more have been added.

become more natural

Therapeutic relationship therapist Miriam Beckmann of Naarden sees “unbelievable growth” in her environment. “During Corona I lived abroad for two years. I went back and then added thirty relationship therapists at Het Gooi. You can see there is a huge market for it. That was less than that,” she says.

“I think the taboo is gone. Seeking psychiatric help in general, or for example a coach, is becoming more natural. And you can see that in couples therapy now as well.”

The difference between young and old

According to the therapist, it is mainly younger couples who show this change. I notice discomfort more often with somewhat older couples. “Partly because of their upbringing, the idea prevails among them: ‘We have to solve it ourselves.’ If this does not work, it can give a feeling of failure and shame, so help is sought later or it is too late.”

Young people think differently about this, notes Ballymans. “I have an idea that asking for help is really less of a taboo for this generation. Just like wanting it right.”


Many relationship therapists

In 2013, 1,209 relationship, family, and order therapists were registered with the Chamber of Commerce. Now, in 2022, the counter stands at 3,762 registered processors. This represents a growth of 211% in 9 years.

Doubts at first

Joshua (30) and Naomi (26) are a young couple. Under the guidance of their own psychologists, they decided to enter couples therapy to work on their relationship.

They had their doubts at first. Naomi: “When they said do you want couples therapy? I really thought, ‘Oh my God. People only say that when they get divorced. I thought, ‘Are we at that point yet?’ But I was happy to find out that the first thing that happens when you go to couples therapy.”

“They are there to argue.”

“If you look at the image that the media, especially movies and series, portrays of couples therapy, you’ll see that it’s used as a sort of dramatic element. They’re there to discuss and everything goes wrong. But it’s not entirely wrong,” says Joshua.

The treatment was a relaxing experience for the couple. “In our experience, the therapist was a very nice old lady, we could have a cup of tea with her and have a nice conversation,” says Naomi. “Then we went home and thought, ‘Oh my God, she said very accurate things,'” Joshua adds.

Source: Naomi van den Hoof

Naomi and Joshua

strengthening the relationship

From the start, they were open to going to couples therapy. “I shared it with everyone on social media,” says Naomi. “Some responded very positively, but others also said, ‘Huh, couples therapy?'” But you’re doing really well, aren’t you? “

For Joshua and Naomi, therapy was primarily a way to strengthen their relationship, not “save it,” Naomi explains. “I hear this a lot in my environment. I think you should go to couples therapy when there isn’t a serious fight yet.” Joshua: “Our ways of communicating were different, so we didn’t understand each other very well. Naomi is autistic and I have a brain that moves really fast, which isn’t bad at all. Through therapy our relationship has become much stronger and we now know how we can communicate with each other.”

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protective look

Strengthening your relationship rather than saving it, that’s exactly what relationship coach Veron van der Meijs, her sister, and therapeutic educator Fleur respond to with newly established office lovers. Their motto: Keep working on your relationship, even when things are going well. There is always room for improvement and it is a gift to you and others. Taking a protective look: How do we keep it together?

Their workshops, which specifically target young couples with children, are fully booked. “We started in January, and now about fifty parents have helped us,” Veron says.

The taboo is bigger than divorce

“Young dads are going through a weakness in their relationship and then all help is welcome. Because working on your relationship, you’re not learning that anywhere.” This bothers Veron. “Love doesn’t work like we see it in Hollywood movies.”

Veron says the fact that taboos are completely removed from couples therapy is not the case. “There’s always a group of people who see working on your relationship as a bigger taboo than getting divorced. So there’s definitely still work to be done.”

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For Naomi and Joshua, this is a reason to share their good experiences with couples therapy. By telling their story, they hope to help other couples as well. Naomi: “I tell everyone we’ve been into couples therapy. Also to encourage people not to be afraid to ask for help when something small happens in the relationship.”

Joshua: “You’ll come out stronger together in the end. It should come naturally to go into therapy, because you learn how to understand each other and how to talk to each other. That’s the most important thing. When people get into that through us I think that’s really cool.” We want to set an example for others.”

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