Should I Tell My Partner What Happens in Therapy?

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Did you make a breakthrough in therapy that you would like to share with your partner? Are you mulling over something your therapist said that you would like your partner’s input on? Have you and your therapist been working on relationship issues that you think you might want to talk to your partner about? Has your partner ever asked you about your therapy sessions? 

All of these scenarios can make you wonder whether you should tell your partner about what happens in therapy.

Verywell Mind asked Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and professor at Yeshiva University, who specializes in issues related to relationships, to weigh in.

Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD

There are no rules about how you share or maintain boundaries around the work you do in therapy. This is a highly personal decision that depends on you, your boundaries, your relationship with your partner, and the issues you’re working on in therapy.

— Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD

This article explores some of the reasons why you may or may not want to tell your partner what happens in therapy, as well as some dos and don’ts that can help you have this conversation with your partner.

Reasons Why Sharing May Be Helpful

Dr. Romanoff shares some of the advantages of telling your partner what happens in therapy:

  • It’s an opportunity to broach difficult topics: Talking about therapy might be an opening for you to bring up a topic with your partner that you might have struggled to open up about in the past. This can be an opportunity to share your thoughts and feelings with your partner.
  • It can help you process your gains from therapy: Sometimes, a breakthrough in therapy can feel so powerful that you may want to share it with the people closest to you, including your partner. Discussing it can help you process the gains made in therapy, give you more perspective, and deepen your understanding of yourself, your motivations, and your relationships.
  • It can help promote closeness: Sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings with your partner can be scary. However, being able to share your most vulnerable self with your partner and being accepted for who you are can promote a sense of trust, honesty, and closeness in the relationship. Having your partner’s support during stressful times can be very helpful and may even help prevent depression and anxiety.
  • It can help you disclose a mental health condition: Having a mental health condition can impact your relationship in several ways. If you have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, you may choose to disclose it to your partner and tell them how you’re working on it with your therapist.

Reasons Why You May Not Want to Share

While there can be advantages to telling your partner what happens in therapy, there may be valid reasons why you may not want to share. According to Dr. Romanoff, these can include:

  • You’re working on issues that impact the relationship: If, for example, you’re working with your therapist on aspects that impact your relationship, such as conflicting feelings about your partner, your sexuality, or relationship-related conflicts, you might not want to share it with your partner just yet. However, it’s important to remember that this content and the process of working through it inevitably tends to make its way into the relationship in some form or another.
  • You’re working on issues you don’t want to share: On the other hand, you may be working with your therapist on other issues, such as a relationship with a parent or a sibling, that you might not want to involve your partner in.
  • Your partner feels threatened by your therapy: Therapy can sometimes be triangulated into relationships in ways that may not be helpful. This can occur if your partner does not respect your boundaries and individuality, and views your therapy as a threat to the relationship.

Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD

Therapy is a private space and it’s up to you to decide what you’re comfortable sharing with your partner.

— Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD

How to Talk to Your Partner About Therapy

If you feel like you might want to share what happens in therapy with your partner, Dr. Romanoff suggests some strategies that can help you discuss it.

Examine Your Motives for Sharing

It’s important to question your motives for telling your partner about what’s happening in your therapy sessions. People sometimes feel coerced into sharing what they’re working on.

The decision to share what happens in therapy should come from the person who is in therapy and not from their partner. There should be no pressure from their partner to do so.

Decide How Much You Want to Share

It’s up to you to decide how much you want to share with your partner. For example, if you do decide you want to share sensitive content with your partner, you can choose to share a select piece of information or give them a brief summary of what you are working on, instead of going in-depth.

Don't Feel Obligated to Keep Sharing

While you might feel comfortable sharing what happens in therapy at one point, you might be in a different place down the line and should not feel compelled to keep an open door of your therapeutic process for your partner.

Never feel pressured to share more than you’re comfortable disclosing, and don’t feel like there is a precedent on sharing after each session.

Avoid Attacking Your Partner

Some people use their therapist to pull rank over their partner and validate their stance. You should try to avoid ganging up on your partner or silencing their feelings or opinions by bringing in your therapist’s reaction to their actions. This is a common way for people in conflictual relationships to try to get their voice heard, but it’s not fair to their partner.

Share What's Important to You

If you are sharing, make sure the content is centric to you, your feelings, and your thoughts around what you’re working on.

You can either just share the content and not frame it as something you’re working on in therapy (to simplify the conversation and distill the information in a streamlined way), or you could explain to your partner the significance this topic has for you, given the time you’ve devoted to it in therapy.

Either way, the information should take precedence over the fact that this was discussed in therapy.

A Word From Verywell

Therapy is a private experience where you discuss your deepest fears and most intimate thoughts and issues with a qualified professional who can help you process them and cope with them.

You can choose to tell your partner what happens in therapy, in order to get their take on it or simply to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences with them. However, it’s important to do it because you want to deepen your relationship with them and not out of a sense of obligation or as a means to attack your partner.

2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Reczek C, Thomeer MB, Gebhardt-Kram L, Umberson D. “Go see somebody”: How spouses promote mental health care. Soc Ment Health. 2020;10(1):80-96. doi:10.1177/2156869319834335

  2. Mokoena AG, Poggenpoel M, Myburgh C, Temane A. Lived experiences of couples in a relationship where one partner is diagnosed with a mental illness. Curationis. 2019;42(1):e1-e7. doi:10.4102/curationis.v42i1.2015

By Sanjana Gupta
Sanjana is a health writer and editor. Her work spans various health-related topics, including mental health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness.