Everything You Need to Know About Couples Therapy
It’s perfectly expected for couples in relationships to face challenges from time to time. Every relationship has its unique needs and challenges. Couples see therapy for a number of unique reasons. From miscommunication and personal traumas impacting the relationship to substance abuse impacting the relationship, finances, infidelity, the normal trials and tribulations of life, and everything in between.
Although couples therapy can sound dramatic, it’s actually a healthy option to keep your relationship strong and healthy.
What is couples therapy?
Like automobiles, relationships require maintenance to keep them running well. When there is a problem, it’s important to have it repaired before the problem becomes worse. Couples therapy is a form of psychotherapy to help you and your partner address negative patterns and behaviors to improve your relationship.
Couples therapy is designed to create a compassionate and safe space to discuss your concerns. Dedicating time to concentrate on addressing the challenges and developing the strengths of your relationship helps to create greater daily awareness. Couples therapy can help address a wide range of relationship concerns including miscommunication, feelings of disconnection, sexual concerns, infidelity, or recurring conflicts.
Typically, a short-form of therapy, couples therapy can help you at any stage of your relationship. Some forms of couples therapy include:
- Marriage counseling
- Premarital counseling
- Family therapy
How does couples therapy work?
When you and your partner decide to engage in couples therapy, you’ll meet with a licensed therapist with clinical experience working with couples. This therapist specializes in helping couples resolve conflict and gain insights into their relationship using different therapeutic interventions. While the exact interventions will vary from therapist to therapist, most couples therapy focuses on the following elements:
- Defining a specific problem (i.e., addiction, jealousy, anger, infidelity, etc.)
- Treating the relationship rather than the individual.
- Solution focused, change-oriented interventions.
- Clearly defined treatment goals.
What happens during couples therapy sessions?
Generally, couples therapy involves discussing your relationship challenges with a neutral party (your therapist). You and your partner will visit the therapist in their office or through telehealth. During your initial sessions, your therapist will ask targeted questions to define the root of your concerns. These general questions will dive into the history of your relationship, as well as diving into each partner’s family-of-origin, values, and cultural background.
Your therapist will help you and your partner identify the problems or concerns that will be the focus of treatment, defining treatment goals, and developing a structured plan for each subsequent session. During your sessions they will provide tools to help you and your partner communicate in a more positive and healthier way. Each session will contain questions tailored to your treatment plan and goals. These questions are designed to help you both understand each other’s perspectives and feelings better with the goal of developing new ways to approach your conflicts.
Although understanding perspective is important, another goal of couples therapy is to change damaging behaviors. Therefore, your therapist may assign homework or activities to apply the skills and solutions you have learned in therapy sessions into your day-to-day life. Typically, couples leave therapy with a greater understanding of the patterns in their relationship with the necessary skills to problem-solve and communicate in a more effective and healthy manner.
Who can benefit from couples therapy?
Anyone in a romantic relationship can benefit from couples therapy. For example, a recently engaged couple might benefit from premarital counseling to address relationship expectations before getting married. Additionally, many couples contemplating breaking up or getting a divorce decide to try couples therapy to save a struggling relationship. Therapy can be a productive and meaningful way to restore the foundation of the marriage, and to clarify if divorce is the appropriate decision.
- Married couples
- Interracial couples
- Teen or college relationships
- Relationships with large age gaps
- Relationships of every stage (i.e. dating, engaged, or married)
What couples therapy can help address
Couples therapy is designed to provide you and your partner with the chance to discuss and resolve issues related to a wide range of challenges that impact romantic relationships. Couples therapy can help you and your partner:
- Define/change the roles you and your partner play in your relationship
- Discuss your beliefs, values, and religious sentiments
- Understand how finances impact your relationship
- Discuss any disagreements or concerns pertaining to raising your children
- Understand how your familial relationships impact your romantic relationship (i.e., relationships with in-laws, siblings, children, etc.)
- Address any sexual concerns
- Address any concerns pertaining to intimacy
- Address any concerns about physical or mental health
- Pinpoint any external stressors, such as work
- Improve conflict resolution and communication
Additionally, couples therapy can help you and your partner approach a broad range of challenges and concerns, including:
- Sexual intimacy
- Financial problems
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Substance abuse
- Mental illness
- And more
Benefits of couples therapy
According to a 2014 summary, couples therapy can help with relationship satisfaction, communication, forgiveness, problem solving, and resolution of needs and feelings.
Couples therapy is designed to help couples feel more connected to their partner and their personal feelings. Additionally, couples therapy helps individuals feel more secure, playful, and spontaneous in their relationship. When you feel more secure in your relationship, you can be more assertive and adventurous in other areas of your life.
Benefits of couples therapy include:
- Understanding each other better
- Identifying and addressing relationship challenges and concerns
- Improved communication skills
- Enhanced conflict resolution
- Strengthen friendship and bond with your partner
- Eliminating unhealthy behaviors
- Developing healthy skills
- Improved closeness and relationship satisfaction
How to get started with couples therapy
Start by checking with your partner. Are they willing to attend couples therapy with you? What days and times would work for your schedules? Once you agree on the logistics it’s time to schedule your appointment. If you or your partner feel your relationship would benefit from couples therapy, the mental health professionals at ClearMinds can help.
At ClearMinds, we help couples build respect, trust, communication, and intimacy to empower them to work through their difficulties. We understand it takes courage to ask for help, and you don’t have to face your fear alone. With the proper guidance and tools, you can enhance the relationships in your life. Each of our therapists is a highly skilled and personable clinician who genuinely cares about their client’s wellbeing.
Contact a member of our team at +971-4-557-6220 to schedule an appointment. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop us a line through our online contact form. We look forward to hearing from you.