As a psychiatrist, why is it also important to be knowledgeable about family and couples therapy? And more importantly, what I can do for the patient.


By Arnab Datta, MD 
Published on Apr 14, 2024

Family and couples therapy expertise in a psychiatrist is a unique quality. Arnab Datta, MD, provides this in his practice. 

In a psychotherapy session, one partner may be describing their own reality and their own perception of the situation, and the other partner may be describing their own reality as well. This is why it’s important for the psychologist or psychiatrist to understand both the conscious and unconscious minds of both partners (whatever the relationship, Dyad or Triad might be). 

Arnab Datta, MD, believes that it’s important for a provider to understand both sides of the story. Traditionally, one partner would see psychologist A, the other partner would see psychologist B, and none of the providers would talk. Sometimes it’s because the providers are busy seeing their patients, having balance in their lives, and moving on to their personal lives after work. It’s important for a provider to understand both sides of the story. This can make the couples or family therapy session more efficient. If the secrets stay with the same provider, then that provider has special insight into how to translate the lessons to both partners. This is why, traditionally, a couple’s therapy would take a very long time. Sometimes the necessary secrets—how to change your communication style to align with your partner—would never be conveyed to either partner. Both partners would remain in the dark about what their partner actually thinks and feels. That’s why it’s good practice for a provider to understand both sides of the story. This is also known as obtaining collateral information; it’s very important for elucidating the truth of the matter and what both partners are thinking and feeling.

In Arnab Datta, MD’s practice, patients from different ethnicities, races, and backgrounds are seen. It actually doesn’t matter which race, ethnicity, or background you come from. We all have different upbringings; we had different psychological states while we were growing up, and we have different psychological states in our adult lives. Dr. Datta helps you and your partner find common ground when it comes to communication style and understanding each other emotionally. If you and your partner come from a different race or a different religion, Dr. Datta can help you find the commonalities you share in faith and beliefs. 

Dr. Datta was a meditation teacher for many years before medical school, before he pursued psychiatry. He understands certain theological principles within different faiths. Even if Dr. Datta does not practice your religion or the specific type of spirituality you practice, he is able to sense the conscious and unconscious minds in both you and your partner. He is able to teach both you and your partner how to modify your communication style and understand each other emotionally. 

This is a controversial topic because there’s conflict between different faiths in the world. Dr. Datta doesn’t believe there needs to be, because when we explore the conscious versus unconscious mind of a human being, we can see the humanity beneath it all. When we understand why a person became the way they are, it’s due to how they were raised as children and how they survived in their environment. This opens up the understanding we have for each other as a society, as a community, as a family, or as a couple. This is the foundation of Dr. Datta’s practice. 

What happens in a relationship that makes it Go on the rocks. We forget how our partner wants to be talked to. We forget how our partner feels and vice versa. Nowadays, we’re hearing all about the languages of love. Imagine taking a very personalized and customized course in the languages of love in your specific relationship with Dr. Datta. “I know how to talk to my partner; we talk all the time,” is the response most people give. Then why do you think there are disagreements? Why do you think there’s friction and a lack of understanding in the relationship? Why do you get so angry when the dishes aren’t done? You’re not angry about the dishes; that is displacement. Displacement is a psychological defense mechanism where one is actually angry about something else. The dish not being done is the straw that breaks the camel’s back and makes one blow up in anger in the face of their partner. There are certain unconscious elements that one has forgotten when they are arguing with their partner like this. You’ve forgotten certain things about your partner. We are all changing at different stages of life, and realigning with your partner may require both of you to change and evolve a little bit. Dr. Datta can teach you how to communicate with your partner harmoniously again. Learn how to emotionally understand your partner again. This might require that both you and your partner change a little bit.

This is one of the secrets of couples therapy. You’re always changing every few years, maybe even every year. It’s a different, specific, customized thing for each couple. If you have a “it’s my way or the highway” approach, you’re not going to be successful in a relationship unless your partner is extremely subservient and always follows your lead. In that case, your partner might not have the highest self-esteem. That’s another thing to work on in individual therapy. One of the major cornerstones of couples therapy is evolving with your partner ever so often. Changing your communication style ever so often. We are never exactly the same person in a relationship. As they say in one of the oldest universal proverbs, The tree that weathers the storm is the one that bends. 


Dr. Datta is the individual psychiatrist/therapist for both partners and also the couples therapist. This allows Dr. Datta to make the couple’s therapy and individual therapy more efficient. Since Dr. Datta is the recipient of the secrets from both partners, he is able to make the couple’s therapy more efficient. He’s able to deliver the secrets that you need to know about your partner sooner rather than later, and in a smaller number of sessions.

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