by John Esposito
Living with partners is not an easy task. It’s a package that comes with enormous challenges and problems – challenges which when are not properly handled can lead to devastating effects on relationships and marriages.
  sometimes, partners find it difficult to resolve differences between each other, hence the need for an arbiter – that is, a platform where issues bothering relationships that are beyond what both partners can handle is resolved.   This article will expose you to the intricacies inherent in couple’s therapy and why you should consider it as an option if your relation or marriage is facing some challenges that are beyond you both  

What Is Couples Therapy?

couple drinking coffee under the coversCouples therapy is a type of psychotherapy in which a therapist with clinical experience working with couples, most often a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), helps two people involved in a romantic relationship gain insight into their relationship, resolve conflict and improve relationship satisfaction utilizing a variety of therapeutic interventions. Although the practice of couple’s therapy may vary depending on the therapist’s theoretical orientation, all couple’s therapy tends to involve the following general elements:      
  • A focus on a specific problem (i.e. sexual difficulties, Internet addiction, jealousy)
  • Active participation on the part of the therapist in treating the relationship itself, rather than each individual separately.
  • Solution-focused, change-oriented interventions early on in treatment.
  • A clear establishment of treatment objectives.
  Usually, a couple’s therapy will begin with some standard interview questions regarding the history of the relationship as well as some exploration into each partner’s family-of-origin, values, and cultural background. The therapist might use the initial sessions for crisis intervention if necessary.   The couple’s therapist will then assist the couple in identifying the issue that will be the focus of treatment, establishing treatment goals, and planning a structure for treatment.   During the treatment phase, the therapist will help the couple gain insight into the relational dynamics maintaining the problem, while helping both partners understand each of their roles in the dysfunctional interactions. This will help them change the way they perceive the relationship and each other.   Although gaining insight is important, another crucial aspect of the couple’s therapy involves changing behaviors and ways of interacting with each other. Couples therapists will often assign partners homework to apply the skills they have learned in therapy to their day-to-day interactions.   Couples therapy can resolve a current problem, prevent an exacerbation of problems, or simply provide a “check-up” for a happy couple that is experiencing a period of transition or increased stress. Common areas of concern addressed in couple’s therapy include issues with money, parenting, sex, infidelity, in-laws, chronic health issues, infertility, gambling, substance use, emotional distance, and frequent conflict.  

Who Should Consider Couples Therapy?

  • Couples therapy is beneficial for any kind of relationship, including:
  • Straight or gay relationships
  • Interracial relationships
  • Young teen or college relationships
  • Relationships with a large age gap
  • Relationships that are at any stage, including dating, engaged, or married

Should I go to counseling or get a divorce?

If your current relationship is shaky, getting a divorce isn’t the only option: couples counseling can salvage a struggling marriage — or even improve a good one. If you have any desire to stay married to your spouse, you should go to couples counseling. Couples counseling, also known as marriage counseling, could be what your relationship needs to heal old wounds and start fresh. Numerous benefits accompany marriage counseling, especially when done before considering a divorce. Counseling can be a meaningful way to restore the foundation of the marriage and clarify whether divorce is the appropriate decision.  

Why Do Couples Delay in Receiving Therapy?

  Unfortunately, many couples try couple’s therapy when a significant amount of damage has already been done. Maladaptive relational patterns have already become entrenched, the emotional bond between partners has been severely weakened and there is a high level of resentment due to unresolved past conflicts. The list can go on.   Research indicates that the average couple is unhappy for six years before seeking couples counseling.   This is not to say that a couple’s therapy cannot be effective at resolving such long-standing problems. Nonetheless, it will be a much more challenging and time-consuming endeavor, requiring a great deal of commitment and effort from both partners.   Misconceptions about what a couple’s therapy is and its purpose can also prevent couples from seeking help early on. Some might think a couple’s therapy is only meant for very serious issues affecting a relationship, including infidelity or addiction. Whereas, it’s something that can work out for all kinds of issues as long as it bothers peace of your relationship

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