There are many reasons why a couple might want to start couples therapy. These reasons can range from relatively minor communication issues to significant challenges in a relationship. Regardless, relationships are complex. Luckily, many great therapists throughout history have devoted their lives to researching the dynamics within relationships and helping couples overcome their challenges.
What Is Couples Therapy?
There are numerous couples therapy theories in the psychological world that help practitioners understand relationship patterns and how issues manifest within relationships. These theories can be helpful for couples to identify and work through sources of conflict. Often, couples therapy involves the couple and the individuals within the couple to take an honest look at themselves and possess a willingness to acknowledge and work through these issues. Just as in individual therapy, it can take time for a couple to identify and accept unhealthy patterns of behavior that have infiltrated their relationship.
When Couples Should Consider Couples Therapy
Couples therapy can be beneficial for a variety of reasons. If you are experiencing any of the following, it may be worthwhile to consider couples therapy:
Difficulty connecting emotionally and/or physically
Challenges with trust
An imbalance in power dynamics within the relationship
A lack of shared goals or values
In addition, it can also be helpful to be proactive in relationships. If you and your partner are getting married, going through premarital counseling can be a great commitment to e
Couples Therapy Sessions: What Happens in Couples Therapy?
It is not a mere talking session as many people dismiss it! Therapeutic techniques are imbued with a lot of meaning and structure. The therapist can play the role of a mediator, helping couples constructively communicate and articulate their feelings and thoughts to one another.
During a typical couples therapy session, each partner will have the opportunity to express their concerns and experiences. The therapist will work with both parties to identify patterns of behavior that are impacting the relationship negatively, as well as reveal areas where there is potential for growth and improvement.
The results are remarkable. When a partner is better able to understand the causes of the other partner’s behavior, or realize what was thought to be intentional malice was merely an unintentional behavior not immediately under one’s control, then more grounds for empathy and understanding open up in the relationship and it can truly begin to heal and grow.
The therapist will also guide the couple in developing a plan of action to help them reach their desired outcome for the relationship. This might involve setting boundaries or creating new goals together that they can commit to working on.
Some Principles of Couples Therapy
Below are some principles of couples therapy that often come into play within the therapeutic process:
Mutual Respect: Possessing a foundation of respect in the relationship despite differences
Open Communication: Sharing your thoughts, feelings, and needs honestly and openly.
Intimacy: Expressing love, affection, and appreciation for each other.
Trust: Having a solid foundation of mutual trust
Commitment: Working together to strengthen your relationship and keep it healthy.
Compromise: Being willing to negotiate and come to solutions that work for both of you.
Empathy: Working to listen and understand each other
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do most couples do therapy?
The duration of therapy depends on the needs of each couple. Generally, couples will need to attend multiple sessions over a period of weeks, months or years depending on what the relationship needs to grow and/or heal.
Will our therapist pick my partner’s “side” in therapy?
Generally speaking, no. The goal of a couple’s therapist is to help the couple identify, acknowledge and work through the challenges together. Couples therapists actually work hard and are trained to not become “triangulated” with a couple where it becomes a “two against one” dynamic in the therapy office.
Can someone fall back in love?
Yes, it is possible for someone to fall back in love. It may take some work and dedication on both sides, but with the help of a qualified therapist and a willingness to open up and communicate effectively, couples can rebuild their connection and feelings of intimacy.
Should Partners Attend Sessions Together?
Yes, both partners are encouraged to attend couples therapy sessions together. This allows for a more accurate assessment of the relationship dynamics and facilitates communication between the two participants. Working with a therapist in-person or online can help couples to express their feelings without fear of judgment or repercussions.
Generally speaking, yes, both partners are encouraged to attend couples therapy sessions together. This allows for a more accurate assessment of the relationship dynamics and facilitates communication between the two participants. There are times where individuals in a couple may benefit from seeing a therapist one-on-one due to long standing mental health challenges or psychological trauma. The couples therapist can help with exploring this if indicated.