The Quick Guide to Couples Therapy

Despite what you might think, deciding to work on your romantic relationship is a promising sign. At the heart of all healthy relationships is a desire to grow together and a willingness to understand your partner’s feelings. Far from being a dramatic decision that is saved only for times of crisis, couples therapy is beneficial to all.

Keep reading for a quick insight into couples counseling to help you decide if it’s the right step for you.

What is Couples Therapy?

Therapy for couples resolves interpersonal conflicts and strengthens romantic relationships. It involves therapeutic interventions led by a licensed therapist who reunites couples through understanding, respect, and compassion. The process enables an honest exploration of romantic relationship struggles for a lasting partnership that not only survives but thrives. 

Many couples choose joint psychotherapy to improve relationship satisfaction and gain an insight into the patterns prevalent in their relationship, as it enables an honest exploration of romantic relationship struggles. That’s why couples therapy improves relationships in over 75% of couples, according to trusted mental healthcare provider Geode Health.

When you solve your problems from the root cause, you discover genuine understandings and strengthen your relationships. Sustaining relationships requires constant work – it is a difficult process that is made much easier by the help of a professional. Couples therapy can empower you to build an unwavering foundation of trust through mutual understanding, patience, and love.

How Does Couples Therapy Work?

Though the specific details may vary based on the individual therapist’s training and orientation, most couples therapy programs involve these elements.

  1. Discussion of a specific problem such as cheating, jealousy, or addiction.
  2. Treatment of the relationship itself rather than the two individuals. But personal therapy may be recommended if the relationship struggles are taking a toll on your mental health or if there is an undiagnosed mental health condition affecting the relationship.
  3. Practical interventions and couples therapy exercises are suggested early on to equip both parties with the tools needed to listen and understand.
  4. A clear and mutual establishment of the specific objectives desired from the treatment and goals for the relationship.

Types of Couples Therapy

Every relationship is different, and there is no cookie-cutter therapy method that works for everyone. Popular methods include: 

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): explores how your beliefs affect your behavior;
  • The Gottman Method: focuses on four destructive patterns;
  • Emotional-focused therapy (EFT): addresses the feelings-based irrationality often felt at the heart of domestic conflicts.

Online couples counseling is available for those who are temporarily living in different areas or who would simply prefer to stay in the comfort of their own home. Many people find online therapy particularly useful, as it gives you the space to gather your thoughts, actively listen to what’s been said, and properly formulate a response.

Or you may prefer the neutral environment of a counselor’s office to help you and your partner leave the defensiveness at home. Ditch the everyday distractions and leave the household mess behind you, so you can focus on reconnecting with each other. Some people find it easier to be vulnerable in a physical space designed to calm you. 

Should I Get Couples Therapy?

Everyone in a relationship could benefit from couples therapy. It is never a bad idea to devote your time to understand the feelings and emotional triggers present in your relationship, whether you’re freshly engaged, still dating, or past your 40th anniversary. 

You may have a specific problem that needs addressing, in which case an impartial, professional therapist will guide you through the murky waters of disagreement. Or, you could be seeking a way to reconnect and spice up your relationship if it starts to feel like you’re merely roommates instead of lovers.

While a certain amount of healthy disagreements are expected in a long-term relationship, if daily arguments become normalized it is time to make a change. You may attempt to try and resolve issues within your relationship through careful listening, but often this isn’t enough.

If you have considered a divorce, but want to give things one last shot, marital therapy is a must. Don’t look back on your relationship and wonder what could have been. Prioritize mutual understanding and acceptance today by utilizing the expertise of a therapist. Certain things are best left in the hands of professionals.

Why Do Some People Avoid Couples Therapy? 

Unfortunately, some people wrongly see couples therapy as a sign of weakness. That is the main reason why many couples will stay in unhappy situations for far too long before seeking help. This can inadvertently lead to increasingly toxic patterns that can damage the relationship, so the bond is already severely weakened before therapy begins.

Attending with a manageable handful of problems instead of a never-ending list of resentments and unresolved past conflicts increases the chance of success of therapy sessions. Of course, more complex relationship struggles can be addressed with therapy, but there is no harm in starting the process as soon as it is needed.

Just like many people find being in personal therapy useful in the absence of mental health problems, many married couples find marital therapy beneficial to keep them on track. Do you only go to the doctor when you are sick? No – routine checkups and preventative care are vital, too.

Unhelpful stereotypes like those expressed by the New York times make seeking help more rather than less difficult. Couples therapy is imagined as a war zone, shared with a tender and empathetic psychotherapist who is terrified and ill-equipped to make a difference. This could not be further from the truth.

Couples therapy is not about winning or becoming a more effective fighter. It relies on a professional therapist with a neutral stance shining a light on the behaviors you cannot see yourself. Forbes highlights that counseling is a powerful tool used by couples who want to find their way back to each other and re-discover what may have been lost. 

Attending therapy as a couple can help you and your partner build the relationship of your dreams. You navigate the highs and lows of life together, so why not dedicate some time to ensuring you grow together, too? 

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