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Romantic relationships can be hard work, as we all know. They require regular maintenance just like cars to run smoothly. To avoid any further problems down the line, you should have the problem fixed as soon as possible.
Sometimes we can handle the maintenance and repairs on our own. Sometimes, a licensed professional can help with behavioral couple therapy. This counseling is emotionally focused and focuses on improving the relationship satisfaction of the couple as well as resolving conflicts. Counselors have the ultimate goal of helping couples to build healthy relationships and resolve any conflicts.
What is Couples Therapy?
Couples Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that involves a licensed therapist who has clinical experience working with couples. Most often a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy (LMFT) helps couples in a relationship to gain insight into their relationship and resolve conflict.
They also use a variety of therapeutic interventions to improve their relationship satisfaction. While the practice of behavioral couple therapy can vary depending on the theoretical orientation of the therapist, the basic elements of couples therapy are the same:
- Focus on one specific problem (e.g. sexual difficulties, Internet addiction, intimacy, jealousy)
- The therapist will actively participate in the treatment of the whole relationship, not each person separately.
- Early treatment should be solution-focused and change-oriented.
- Clear definition of treatment goals.
What to Expect from Couples Therapy
You don’t know what you can expect from each couple therapy session. The first couple of therapy sessions will typically begin with a few standard questions about the history of the relationship. It may also include deep dives into the cultural and family background of each partner. If necessary, the therapist or marriage counselor may use the first sessions to provide crisis intervention.
The couple’s therapist will assist them in identifying the problem, setting treatment goals, and creating a treatment plan for each session.
The therapist will work with the couple to gain an understanding of the relationship dynamics that are causing the problems and help them both understand their respective roles in these dysfunctional interactions. They will be able to see the problems and the distress in their relationship from a greater perspective, which will allow them to change how they view each other.
While it is important to gain insight, a key aspect of couples therapy is actually changing behavior. Many couples therapists assign their partners homework so that they can apply the skills learned in therapy to their daily interactions.
Therapy leaves couples with a greater understanding of their relationship patterns and the skills needed to communicate with and solve problems with their partners.
Different types of Couples Therapy
Mueller says that there are many approaches to couples therapy. These can include:
- Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
- Gottman Method
- Ellen Wachtel’s Approach
- Couple’s Therapy
- Behavior therapy
- Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
EFT focuses on strengthening the bond between you and your partner. The therapist will help you identify and correct the patterns that can lead to disconnection.
This method focuses on resolving conflicts and equipping partners with problem-solving skills. This method aims to increase the intimacy and quality of your friendship with your partner.
Ellen Wachtel’s Approach
This strength-based approach focuses on the positive aspects of a relationship. This approach focuses more on self-reflection than on blame.
Psychodynamic Therapy explores the deepest hopes and fears of you and your partner to help you get to know each other better.
This therapy is also known as behavioral couples therapy (BCT). It focuses on changing behavior to promote stability and happiness while removing negative behaviors.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
This therapy is also known as cognitive-behavioral couples therapy, (CBCT). It involves identifying and changing negative thought patterns.
Many couples therapists use an integrated approach to therapy. They borrow techniques from various forms of therapy depending on your needs.
These are just a few of the strategies that a couple of therapists might use:
- Getting acquainted with you
- Identifying emotions
- The past can be explored
- Using solutions to problems
- Teaching skills
Getting acquainted with you
The therapist creates a feeling of safety by getting familiar with you and your partner. Mueller says that therapists work collaboratively and actively with clients to help them understand themselves and their partners.
“The therapist helps both you and your partner to identify and put into words their feelings.
The past can be explored
Couples Therapy can help you understand your fears, motivations, and behavior in a relationship. It can help you resolve unresolved conflicts that may be affecting your present.
Using solutions to problems
Your therapist will work together with you and your partner in order to resolve conflicts, correct bad behavior patterns, and focus on the positive aspects of your relationship.
Couples therapy can teach you and your partner anger control, problem-solving, and conflict resolution. This is to give you and your partner tools to deal with any issues that may arise.
Couples therapy can help with these things
Couples therapy gives you and your partner the chance to talk about and resolve problems related to many aspects of your relationship.
- Roles within a relationship
- Values and beliefs
- Finances Conflict in Relationships
- Spend time together
Roles within a relationship
Couples Therapy can help you identify unhealthy relationships. It can also address expectations differences.
Values and beliefs
Couples therapy is a way to have a conversation with your partner about your values and beliefs and how they impact your day.
Finances Conflict in Relationships
Finances could be a significant source of conflict. Couples therapy can promote open communication and transparency about income and spending habits.
Spend time together
You and your partner can discuss issues that are preventing you from spending your time together. Discuss things you like doing together, and how to make your time together more enjoyable.
If your partner and you aren’t on the same page regarding whether you want children or how to raise them, couples counseling can help you to communicate your concerns. You can also use it to help you with stressful situations like difficulties conceiving or adopting children.
Couples therapy is a way to help you and your partner resolve conflicts with other relatives like parents, siblings, and children.
Intimacy and sex
If your partner and you are experiencing issues with sex, intimacy, or infidelity, then couples therapy may be a good option. It allows you to express your feelings and needs.
Physical and Mental health problems can make life difficult for you and your partner. Couples therapy can help you manage the stress that it places on your relationship.
Therapy can help you and your partner manage conflicts that are caused by outside factors.
Benefits of Couple Therapy
These are just a few of the many benefits that couples therapy can provide:
- Get to know your partner better
- Identify relationship problems
- Enhance communication skills
- Conflict resolution
- Enhance friendship and attachment
- Stop dysfunctional behavior
- Learn skills
- Increase relationship satisfaction
Get to know your partner better
Couples therapy helps you get to know yourself better. You can both express your emotions, hopes, fears, and values.
Identify relationship problems
Your therapist can help identify issues between you and your partner that lead to recurring conflicts, lack of trust, and feelings of disconnection.
Enhance communication skills
Therapy is a way to help you and your partner communicate. You can express yourself, ask for what you want, and not blame or attack your partner.
Your therapist can help you and/or your partner to work through your problems and find solutions.
Enhance friendship and attachment
Couples Therapy can strengthen your relationship, friendship, attachment, bonding, and intimacy with your partner.
Stop dysfunctional behavior
Your therapist will be able to identify and eliminate dysfunctional behaviors.
Couples Therapy is not a long-term therapy. It is a short-term therapy designed to give you and your partner skills to prevent and manage any conflicts down the line.
Increase relationship satisfaction
Couples therapy may help you and your partner be happier together.
couples therapy can improve communication, relationship satisfaction, forgiveness, problem-solving, and feelings. Emotionally focused therapy (EFT), has strong research support for a broad range of issues.EFT has been proven to reduce distress in couples and increase their relationship satisfaction. These benefits can even last for up to two years.
Things to Consider
Couples therapy requires both you and your partner to participate. If your partner isn’t open to the idea, you can do couples therapy on your own to gain a better understanding of your relationship and to help you improve it.
You may need separate therapy sessions if you and your partner are doing it together.
Your therapist may recommend specialized therapy if you or your partner are dealing with additional issues such as substance abuse.