What is couple therapy?
Couple therapy is a type of psychotherapy that can help you and your partner improve your relationship. If you experience relationship difficulties, you can seek couples therapy to help rebuild your relationship.
Dr. Brian Mueller, a psychologist at Columbia University Medical Center, said: “Couple therapy can solve a wide range of relationship problems, including recurring conflicts, feelings of separation, affair, sexual problems, or caused by external pressure. Difficulties.” Good at couples therapy.
Regardless of marital status, age, race, belief or sexual orientation, couples therapy can help you at any stage of your relationship.
Some forms of this treatment include marriage counseling, pre-marital counseling, and family therapy. It is usually a short-term form of treatment.
Types of couple therapy
According to Mueller, there are many ways to treat couples, including:
- Emotional Focus Therapy (EFT): EFT focuses on improving the attachment and connection between you and your partner. The therapist will help you understand and change the patterns that lead to a sense of separation.
- Gottman method: This method involves resolving conflict areas and providing you and your partners with problem-solving skills. It aims to improve the quality and intimacy of the friendship between you and your partner.
- Ellen Wachtel’s approach: This is an advantage-based approach that involves focusing on the positive aspects of the relationship. It focuses on self-reflection rather than blame.
- Psychodynamic couple therapy: Psychodynamic therapy explores the potential hopes and fears that inspire you and your partner to help you understand each other better.
- Behavioral therapy: Also known as behavioral couple therapy (BCT), this therapy involves shaping behaviors by strengthening positive behaviors that promote stability and satisfaction, while preventing behaviors that produce negative emotions.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Also known as Cognitive Behavioral Couples Therapy (CBCT), this therapy involves identifying and changing thinking patterns that negatively affect behavior.
Couples therapists usually use comprehensive treatment methods, borrowing techniques from different forms of treatment according to your needs.
These are some strategies that couples therapists might use:
- Know you: “Therapists create a sense of security by getting to know you and your partner. They actively work with you to help you better understand yourself and your partner,” Mueller said.
- Recognizing feelings: “The therapist will help you and your partner recognize feelings and express them in words,” Mueller said.
- Exploring the past: Couple therapy can involve exploring your past, as this can help you better understand your fears, motivations, and behaviors in a relationship. It can also help resolve unresolved conflicts that affect you now.
- Focus on solutions: Your therapist will work with you and your partner to solve problems, correct negative behavior patterns, and focus on the positive aspects of the relationship.
- Teaching skills: Couple therapy can help you and your partner teach you skills in managing anger, problem solving, and conflict resolution. The purpose is to provide you and your partners with tools to help you deal with problems that arise.
How can couples therapy help?
Couples therapy can give you and your partner the opportunity to discuss and resolve issues related to several aspects of your relationship, which may include:
- Roles in the relationship: Couples therapy can help you examine the roles that you and your partner play in the relationship and identify unhealthy dynamics. It can also help resolve differences in expectations.
- Beliefs and values: Couple therapy can help you and your partner discuss your beliefs, values, and religious sentiments, as well as the impact of these aspects on your daily life.
- Finance: Finance can be the main source of conflict in a relationship. Couple therapy helps promote open dialogue and transparency around income and spending habits.
- Spend time together: You and your partner can solve the problems that disrupt your time together. You can discuss the activities you like to do together and how to make the time spent together more enjoyable.
- Children: If you and your partner disagree on whether you want children or how to raise them, couples therapy can help you communicate these concerns. It can also help relieve stressors, such as difficulty getting pregnant or adopting a child.
- Family relationships: Couples therapy can help you and your partner resolve problems arising from conflicts with other family members (such as parents, children, and siblings).
- Sex and intimacy: If you and your partner have issues related to sex and intimacy or infidelity, couples therapy can provide you with a safe space to share your feelings and needs.
- Health issues: Physical or mental health issues may cause difficulties for you and your partner. Couple therapy can help you cope with the stress it puts on your relationship.
- External stressors: Treatment can also help you and your partner deal with conflicts caused by external factors (such as work) that can put pressure on your relationship.
Benefits of couple therapy
“People report feeling closer to their partners and themselves, and are more secure, spontaneous, and interesting in this relationship. When people feel safer in their relationship, they become more involved in other aspects of their lives. Become more confident and adventurous,” Mueller said.
Brain Mueller, PhD
The benefits of couple therapy include reducing relationship distress and increasing relationship satisfaction.
— Dr. Brain Mueller
These are some of the benefits that couples therapy can provide:
- Get to know each other better: Couple therapy can help you get to know yourself and your partner better. It can help both of you express your feelings, hopes, fears, priorities, values and beliefs.
- Identify relationship issues: Mueller says that your therapist can help you and your partner identify issues that cause repeated conflicts, lack of trust, and a sense of separation.
- Improve communication skills: Therapy can help you and your partner communicate with each other. It can help you express yourself and ask for what you need without attacking or blaming your partner.
- Conflict resolution: Your therapist can help you and your partner resolve your problems and resolve them.
- Strengthen friendship and attachment: Couple therapy can help strengthen the friendship, attachment, bond and intimacy between you and your partner.
- End dysfunctional behaviors: Your therapist can identify dysfunctional behaviors and help eliminate them.
- Study skills: Couple therapy is not a long-term form of treatment. Rather, it is a short-term treatment designed to equip you and your partner with the skills to help you prevent and manage future conflicts.
- Improve relationship satisfaction: Couple therapy can help improve the overall quality of your relationship and make you and your partner happier together.
According to a 2014 summary, couples therapy helps in relationship satisfaction, communication, forgiveness, problem solving, and needs and feelings.
According to Mueller, Emotional Focus Therapy (EFT) is particularly supported by strong research on a wide range of issues. He said that many studies have shown that couples who have received 8 to 12 EFT treatments report that the pain of both parties has been reduced, relationship satisfaction has increased, and the benefits after treatment can last for even two years.
Things to consider
Ideally, couples therapy requires the participation of you and your partner. However, if your partner does not accept it, you can also choose to have couples treatment alone to better understand your relationship and how to improve it.
If you and your partner are doing it together, you may find that one or both of you also need a separate treatment course to help deal with the issues raised in couples’ treatment.
If you or your partner also deal with other problems, such as substance abuse, your therapist may recommend specialized treatment.
Couples therapy can help resolve issues related to domestic abuse. However, if you are afraid of your partner or do not want to continue the relationship, please contact the police or a nearby shelter for help.
How to start
If you feel that couples therapy can benefit your relationship, please discuss with your partner to see if they are willing to accept it. If they refuse, please explain why this is important to you and how you think it will help your relationship.
The next step is to find practitioners. Couples therapy is usually provided by licensed therapists known as marriage and family therapists; however, other psychologists and psychiatrists may also provide it. Friends or family members may recommend someone you can go to, or if you see a therapist for other reasons, they may recommend you to see a specialist.
Check with your partner for the date and time that suits them. If you and your partner prefer face-to-face treatment, try to find a therapist who is conveniently located. Make sure the therapist accepts your insurance plan.
When you start treatment, you and your partner may need to fill out a form detailing your medical history and insurance information. You may also need to fill out a questionnaire to help your therapist better understand your relationship, the problems you are facing, and what you want from treatment.
Your therapist will work with you and your partner to set treatment goals. Although couples treatment usually involves combined treatment, your therapist may also treat you or your partner separately. They may also assign homework.
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If you and your partner are in difficult times, couples therapy can help you improve and improve your relationship. Your therapist can help you express your feelings, discuss issues with your partner, and resolve conflicts.
Couple therapy can help increase understanding, respect, affection and intimacy between you and your partner, which can help you to be happier together.