Home Family & Relationship Guide to Couples Therapy: What Is It and What to Expect?

Guide to Couples Therapy: What Is It and What to Expect?

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Romantic relationships require maintenance so you can enjoy the benefits of the other person’s company. Often, we need assistance and help with our problems. And of course, we must do what’s best for the relationship. Many couples go with the option of couples therapy.

Couples therapy is for those who want to improve the relationship, explore underlying issues, establish better communication, and discover the root of their problems in order to make their relationship stronger in the long run. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss the main aspects of couples therapy, who can benefit from it, and what you can expect at a coaching session.

What is couples therapy?

Couples therapy is psychotherapy or a form of counselling intended for couples with issues in their relationship or marriage. It’s often referred to as marriage counseling, however, the terms can be used interchangeably.

The goal of couples therapy is to improve the relationship’s health, help the couple with problem-solving skills and assist them in resolving their conflicts and issues so they can stay together. To learn more about couples therapy and the team of professionals that’s been successfully operating and saving marriages, visit Empathi.

The therapy can address common relationship issues and help you at any stage, regardless of your age, race, sexual orientation, or marital status. The therapy forms are:

  • Premarital counselling
  • Marriage counselling
  • Family counselling

Couples therapy involves the following elements:

  • Interventions oriented toward change in the relationship
  • Participation in solving the relationship’s issues
  • Focusing on one problem at a time: intimacy, sexual difficulties, jealousy
  • Focusing on treatment and ways to work on issues raised

Types of couples therapy and common techniques

Brian Mueller, PhD, a psychologist at the Columbia University Medical Center states that there are various approaches to couples therapy. Let’s analyse the most common.

  • Ellen Wachtel’s approach. Ellen Wachtel’s Approach highlights the strengths and positive aspects of the relationships. It focuses on self-learning and reflection instead of pointing fingers and blaming your partner. With this approach, partners can increase the relationship strength and solve issues like blaming, fighting whether some inconvenience is your partner’s fault instead of resolving it together, etc.
  • Gottman method. The Gottman method involves the development and sharpening of problem-solving skills among the partners and focuses on solving conflicts. It aims to improve the intimacy in your relationship and boost the friendship aspect between partners.
  • Emotionally-focused therapy. Emotionally-focused therapy focuses on the bonding and the emotional aspect of the relationship, as the name itself, imposes. It helps you understand and change the behaviours and patterns that lead to disconnection and indifference in the relationship.
  • Behavioural therapy. Behavioural therapy deals with reinforcing positive thoughts, actions, and behaviour among couples. It promotes satisfaction and stability and brings couples to a higher level of understanding, empathy, and common sense.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy. Cognitive behavioural therapy is involved in changing and identifying patterns in the relationship that lead to negativity, arguing, and fighting. It focuses on finding the root of the issues and solving them with different techniques.

What can you expect?

If you don’t know what to expect at your first therapy session, it’s better to get informed beforehand. The process usually involves the therapist introducing you to the type of session you’ll have, discussing the nature of your relationship, and then diving deeper into the issues.

The therapist might ask you to talk about your family, cultural background, values, issues, etc., with the sole purpose of identifying the root of conflict and structuring an appropriate treatment plan for the same.

During the treatment period, the therapist will gain insight into the dynamics of your relationship and guide both partners toward understanding the dysfunctional aspects and interactions on both sides and working on improving them. 

Also, the therapist will help you gain insight into the other person’s perceptions, feelings, and thoughts so you can better communicate your feelings and distress. At couples therapy, you might be assigned some tasks to do at home, like the skills you’ve learned at the session or adapting to a certain situation and expressing your feelings appropriately.

Who would consider couples therapy?

Couples don’t go to therapy if flowers are blooming in their relationship. They often seek help when they encounter an issue that drifts both of them apart and imposes a difficult situation in their lives. Everybody should seek professional help, from interracial couples, gay or straight couples, newlyweds, or long-married couples.

Ask for help today

If you and your partner are struggling with unresolved conflicts, daily arguing, and fighting, maybe it’s time you seek professional help. Many professionals can help you save your relationship, so don’t bet against the odds and do it now.

Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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