Relationship life. Not only butterflies right? Nowadays, more and more people around the world feel comfortable reaching out for professional help when it comes to their relationship concerns. Want some statistics? Research shows that couple therapy positively impacts 70% of couples receiving treatment.
But, first things first.
What is Couples Therapy? Couples Therapy is a type of therapy in which both partners in a committed relationship are treated at the same time by the same therapist or therapists. Individual sessions may be provided separately to each partner, particularly at the beginning of therapy; most of the course of therapy, however, is provided to both partners together.
And the agenda? Couples therapy is concerned with problems of a wide spectrum always depending on the requests of a couple. For example, partners may have trouble communicating effectively with one another, may need some assistance managing other relationships, which can have a huge impact on the romantic relationship, may face digital-age, sexual or trust issues, thinking of a divorce, etc. Depending on the specific issues that clients seek assistance for, therapists incorporate many different techniques, exercises, and tools in their sessions.
Okay, but what will I gain from it? Each couple’s therapy experience and even each session may differ. However, five general principles and goals guide relationship therapy;
- Altering the couple’s view of the presenting problem to be more objective and dyadic: How many times have you caught yourself up in relationship behavioral patterns like “it’s your fault not mine”, “you are always doing that”, “you are doing this wrong”?
- Modifying dysfunctional behavior: This can happen through the process of recognizing, acknowledging, and then altering this type of behavior.
- Decreasing emotional avoidance: How many times do we avoid discussing something because we just feel uncomfortable with sharing or because it is too much of an effort?
- Improving communication: The emphasis here is not just on communicating, but communicating effectively, which requires active listening and empathy.
- Emphasizing strengths and reinforcing gains: Let’s not forget that every relationship has its strengths and weaknesses, so we may as well take advantage of the strengths to cope with the challenges instead of just limiting our spectrum.
And now, last things last.
For all couples wondering: Is Couples Therapy our end or our beginning? Neither. Couples therapy is like a boat. Acknowledging you want to work on something gives you the golden ticket for the trip. You embark without knowing the harbor you will end up in. The route may be different than the one you imagined, tougher, or even unexpected. Nevertheless, in the end, you will know you got yourself and your partner some valuable sailing skills.
And besides all that, who would say no to a trip these days?
If you think your relationship will benefit from a session, you can book an appointment here.
Alexandra Symeonidou is an Intern at Willingness with a BSc in Psychology ready to start her MSc in Social, Health, and Organizational Psychology this following September.
American Psychological Association. APA Dictionary of Psychology. Washington, DC: APA
Benson LA, McGinn MM, Christensen A. (2012). Common principles of couple therapy. Behav Ther., 43(1), 25-35. DOI: 10.1016/j.beth.2010.12.009.
Courtney E. A. (2020). Relationship Therapy: Enhancing Your Romantic Relationships. Retrieved from https://positivepsychology.com/relationship-therapy/