Couples Therapy

What to Expect in Couples Therapy?

Everything you want to keep going requires maintenance. Similarly, your relationship may need support too. As there are many types of therapy, you and your partner may benefit from couples therapy. And there’s nothing wrong with that. You just need to understand how it works so you can make the most of it. That’s why, in this guide, we are going to cover the fundamentals, including what you can expect during your couples therapy.

What Is Couples Therapy?

Couples therapy is a form of talk therapy where a qualified therapist assists individuals who are in a loving relationship to comprehend each other, find solutions to problems, and strengthen their bond. It includes identifying special issues, engaging in problem-solving, and application of techniques to bring about the desired changes. The research proves that 80% of the clients feel that therapy works for them and helps them get practical ways of handling problems.

What You Can Expect from Couples Therapy?

Couples therapy helps partners understand their relationship patterns and develop effective communication and problem-solving skills.

  • First Steps: The first session usually includes the exploration of the history of the relationship, individual and couple’s values, family background, and cultural background. The therapist might discuss possible issues and how to deal with them, as well as define priorities for further discussion. It assists in setting the objectives of treatment and the format of future sessions.
  • Ongoing Process: During therapy, therapists assist both you and your partner in discovering the factors that cause such issues in the relationship. Knowing these roles may alter the way you perceive the relationship.
  • Homework Assignments: Therapists typically assign homework to consolidate what they have taught. These exercises help partners apply the skills learned to their daily interactions and improve their relationships.

What Can Couples Expect to Talk About in Therapy?

Couples therapists attempt to discover patterns that may cause problem areas and help fix them. Issues commonly addressed include:

  • Different beliefs or backgrounds
  • Problems with talking openly and feeling close emotionally
  • Issues with being physically intimate and feeling distant 
  • Arguing over who has more power
  • Emotional or physical cheating and the hurt it causes
  • Feeling hurt and mistrust after a betrayal
  • Feeling jealous or not trusting each other
  • Parenting in different ways
  • Feeling lost or questioning life’s meaning
  • Unequal sharing of chores and responsibilities
  • Dealing with extended family’s impact
  • Disagreements over money or trust issues
  • Struggling with addictions or harmful habits

Types of Couples Therapy

There are different ways couples can get help to improve their relationships and solve problems:

Gottman Method

This method enables partners to realize their differences and how they can overcome them. It deals with conflict-solving abilities and closeness, often beginning with seminars and then expanding to individual sessions.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT focuses on altering unhelpful thinking patterns and behaviors in a couple’s relationship. It educates them on better ways to handle the situation and fosters better communication in the relationships.

Motivational Interviewing

Therapists use this approach to provide couples with a reason to change their behaviors. It comprises elements like the ability to listen without responding, being able to explain why one wants something, and support for that request.

Imago Relationship Therapy (IRT)

This type of therapy focuses on how past experiences in childhood shape one’s interactions as an adult. The main purpose of this is to clear up misunderstandings and focus on conflicts in a relationship.

Solution-Focused Therapy

This therapy is suitable for those who have particular problems that require immediate attention. It is more action-oriented than process-oriented so it spends little time discussing past issues.

Each type of therapy presents specific methods and approaches to solve a couple’s problems and enhance the quality of the relationship.

How Does Couples Therapy Differ from Couples Counseling?

The terms couples therapy and couples counseling are sometimes used as synonyms but there are differences between these two. Couples therapy involves addressing specific present concerns within a limited number of sessions, usually six or fewer. While couples therapy involves exploring the causes of relationship issues and focuses on altering negative processes and healing emotional trauma. It can enable partners to identify their own needs and enhance their communication patterns. They typically last around twelve sessions. However, the number of sessions may differ.