Therapy For Couples

Couples therapy is similar to marriage counselling. It is an option open to couples in a long-term relationship, where one or both partners feel that there are relationship issues present that cannot be resolved through the individual efforts of both partners. Therapy for couples consists of a trained psychologist or psychotherapist meeting and working with the couple to help them understand the root cause of their marital problems, and to help them find solutions to their issues.

Partners in a relationship seek couples therapy for a number of reasons. Common complaints include lack of partner communication, frequent arguments that cannot be satisfactorily resolved, unfulfilled emotional needs, concerns about money and conflicts involving the parenting of children. Therapy for couples can help settle these issues without incurring that build-up of frustration, anger and disappointment that is so often experienced when partners try to resolve such issues on their own.

In the first therapy for couples session the therapist’s job will be to encourage both partners to open up with their thoughts and feelings about their struggling relationship. The therapist will make an assessment of the problems in the relationship and how each partner views them, the history of the relationship and the background history of the individuals leading up to the relationship. This helps the therapist to build up a clear picture of the relationship and the periphery influences upon it. It also represents an opportunity to uncover misunderstandings resulting from communication or non-communication issues, and may reveal the relationship in a new light.

Naturally, partners may have concerns about the usefulness of couples therapy, and this is understandable. After all, therapy is not for everyone. Below is an attempt to provide answers to common questions and fears that couples have when considering the therapy option.

Can one concerned partner seek couples therapy or do both partners need to go?

Couples therapists are normally quite happy to see one partner without the other in the first instance, especially if the relationship problems are associated with personal issues such as low self-esteem, illness, or work-related stress. However, it is recommended that both partners attend as it provides the therapist with an additional viewpoint. The therapist can then decide which type of therapy (individual or couples) will work best.

Does seeking help mean that I’m crazy?

No, seeking therapy for couples in no way implies that you are mentally ill.

My partner refuses to seek help…what can I do?

Encourage your partner to seek help now, even if they have refused help in the past. Stress how important you feel it is to seek help now, and make sure they understand that not seeking help may jeopardize your future relationship, perhaps sooner than they think.

Will both of us be seen together by the therapist or can we go separately?

The therapist will most likely want to see both of you together, although sometimes you may be seen separately on the first meeting so the therapist can get the full picture from both sides.

Is our relationship over if we seek couple therapy?

Absolutely not! Seeking therapy is not a sign of failure. In fact, it shows that both of you are committed to finding a resolution, so improving your relationship outlook immensely!

Is couple therapy always successful?

No.  Nothing is guaranteed. You do however stand a far greater chance of success when seeing a therapist than if you were to do nothing.



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