What is Couples Therapy?
Couples therapy is a type of psychotherapy in which a mental health professional works with couples with relationship issues to gain insight into their problems and help couples work through challenges and conflicts, understand their relationship better, develop healthier ways of relating to each other, and improve their overall relationship using a variety of therapeutic approaches. Couples therapy can help you at any phase of your relationship, irrespective of age, marital status, faith, race, or sexual orientation. Couples therapy can address a wide variety of relationship problems, including:
- Feelings of disconnection
- Recurring conflicts
- An affair/betrayal
- Lack of trust
- Issues related to sex
- Family issues
- Financial conflicts
- Issues related to past relationship
- Difficulties from external stressors
- Challenges related to motherhood/parenting
Types of Couples Therapy
Some of the common approaches involved in couples therapy include:
- Gottman Method: This method helps to address areas of conflict and imparts problem-solving skills in you and your partner. This improves friendship and intimacy between couples.
- Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT): This therapy helps to improve bonding and attachment in a relationship.
- Behavioral Therapy: This is also known as behavioral couples therapy and helps to boost positive behaviors in order to improve satisfaction and stability in a relationship while dissuading behaviors that nurture negativity.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Also known as cognitive-behavioral couples therapy (CBCT), this type of therapy helps to identify and change thought patterns that negatively impact your behavior.
- Psychodynamic Couple’s Therapy: This therapy analyzes underlying fears and hopes that influence you and your partner and helps in understanding one another better.
- Ellen Watchtel’s Approach: This therapy involves a strength-based approach that focuses on positive areas of a relationship and emphasizes on self-reflection rather than blame.
- Imago Relationship Therapy: This therapy explores the connection between childhood experiences and adult relationships and seeks to make couples more understanding and empathetic of each other by understanding childhood trauma.
Techniques involved in Couples Therapy
Couples therapists commonly make use of an integrated treatment approach that involves incorporating different types of therapy techniques, depending upon your specific needs. Some of the common treatment approaches your therapist may focus on include:
- Identifying Feelings: Your therapist will assist you and your partner to recognize feelings and express those feelings in words to each other to improve the relationship.
- Getting to Know You: Your therapist works with you and your partner to know you better and helps create a sense of safety and better understanding between yourself and your partner.
- Focusing on Solutions: Your therapist will work with you and your partner to sort out issues, rectify negative behavior patterns, and emphasize on positive areas in your relationship.
- Exploring the Past: This involves exploring your past as it helps in understanding your insecurities, fears, behaviors, and motivations in a relationship. It can also aid in addressing unresolved conflicts that impact your present.
- Teaching Skills: In this approach, your therapist will teach you and your partner skill sets for problem-solving, conflict resolution, and anger management. The goal is to train you and your partner with techniques to help deal with problems as they occur.
Benefits of Couples Therapy
Couples therapy can offer numerous benefits including:
- Assistance to identify issues in a relationship
- Understand each other better
- Improve communication skills
- Resolve personal issues and conflicts
- Improve problems solving and management skills
- Avoid negative thoughts and dysfunctional behavior
- Feel more connected with your feelings and your partner
- Feel more secure and spontaneous in a relationship
- Reinforce intimacy, bonding, attachment, and friendship
- Improve satisfaction and overall quality of your relationship