You can easily spend 100 euros for a session with a couple at a relationship therapist. 150 euros also counts as an hourly rate. And everything in between.
Couples therapy is not included in the basic insurance package. Normally you have to cough up the money yourself. Sometimes, under certain conditions, you will be reimbursed via supplementary insurance, for example with CZ.
As a psychosocial therapist, Jolande Rommens-Musquetier helps couples who can no longer agree. She sees in her practice every working day how big the impact of relationship problems is. “It causes so much misery and stress in a family. It’s extremely psychologically taxing on everyone involved, just like burnout or depression is.”
Effect on children
And then there are often children involved. “They naturally suffer from conflicts.”
For these reasons, Rommens would find it more than justified if couples therapy falls under the basic subsidy: “It would be nice if it became available to everyone.”
Paul Vogel – also a relationship therapist – agrees with her. “A person with serious relationship problems often fails. Your concentration suffers and this can cause failure at work.”
Reason enough to work on the love problems. But partly because of the cost, people sometimes put off couples therapy for a long time, according to Vogel.
Sanne Plantinga and her friend Friso took the bull by the horns and sat down together on a therapist’s familiar couch. “A relationship apk.”
To break the taboo on this, they filmed part of the conversations and showed fragments of it in their YouTube vlog ‘the most beautiful parents in the Netherlands’.
Sanne explains why she and Friso took that step three years ago: “We have two children now aged 5 and 7. As parents of young children, you run the risk of being preoccupied with everything that needs to be done in the family.”
A good conversation often fell through because of all the busyness: “Talking about what you run into or what bothers you can be very difficult. With us, it easily got bogged down in arguments and reproaches: you take up a lot of space, because example. Or: how quickly you get angry.”
In a few conversations – couples therapy is often short-lived – Sanne and Friso gained insight into the patterns they had become entangled in. “It’s very nice if someone looks from the outside and notices things. If you’re angry, you do here. And then you react like that. A therapist also thinks about what you need as a couple.”
‘With an axe’
In particular, there was more mutual understanding: “I now see better why he gets angry when I approach him with an ax, so to speak, in conversations. And he has more insight into why I sometimes feel alone.”
As far as Sanne is concerned, no one should be ashamed of relationship problems or therapy. “If there are things you can’t figure out, why not ask for help?”
And as far as she’s concerned, it’s better not to do it before it’s already too late: “We’re also now running into some things that we’d like someone to think about. Not that it’s going wrong, we want to like to prevent. . If the love is there, you have to make sure it doesn’t break.”
Research SGP: also free love lesson
SGP would like to see the number of divorces – and therefore also confrontational divorces – decrease. Professional support from the government can help with that, the party believes.
The party commissioned Kantar Public to do an opinion poll. More than 1000 people attended. Of the participants, 59 percent said that they thought that subsidizing couples therapy was a good move.
63 percent also like teaching about love relationships in schools. 60 percent support campaigns about the negative consequences of divorce.
You can read more results from and information about the study here.
ChristenUnie has often advocated for free relationship therapy in the House of Representatives.
Reimbursement from the basic insurance may make the step even smaller for Sanne and Friso: “It’s not at the top of the shopping list right now. A winter coat for my daughter comes first anyway.”
While relationship therapy can also ultimately save costs: “If, for example, you prevent a divorce with it.”
Therapist Rommers-Musquetier also sees a possible unwanted effect of supplements for couples therapy. “It could lead to longer waiting lists in the healthcare system if, for example, GZ psychologists also start offering it.”
She continues: “When people take the step to see a therapist, they prefer to start working within a few weeks. Otherwise, sometimes things really explode. If, for example, a partner has just been unfaithful.”
You really have to want to
It can be quite confronting to look honestly at love problems, says Rommers. “There are often things that have never been discussed before. Both partners have to want to work hard, want to take a step.”
Couples therapy should therefore never be done – emphasizes the therapist – ‘just to be able to check off’. “If I have the idea that couples want to come and do it just to be able to say they’ve tried everything, then I advise against it. Then it’s no use.”