What is Couples Therapy?
Couples Therapy, or Marriage Counseling is a specific branch of counseling services. The goal in couples therapy is to resolve conflict, improve relationship satisfaction, increase intimacy and improve the well-being of both partners in the couple. All couples experience conflict from time to time. Some couples experience frequent or routine conflict that begins to create distance and resentment over time. When conflict, stress or differences in communication style erode the foundation of a marriage, it can be highly beneficial to see a marriage therapist.
What Will Happen in Couples Therapy?
The focus of couples therapy varies depending on the circumstances, but a few things are common to most couples engaging in counseling. Couples therapy will teach new ways to express emotion and manage conflict that lead to an increased ability to compromise and support one another. Couples therapy also provides an environment where the couple can discuss topics that have typically led to fights in the past, because the therapist can act as a mediator and facilitate a healthy discussion. Couples therapy also often helps shape the behavior patterns of the couple, improving the ways that both partners work on the relationship from week to week.
How Do I Know If It’s Time to Try Couples Therapy?
Most couples benefit from therapy, even if they are doing well. Maintaining a marriage is challenging at times, and most of us can use new ideas, or reminders to engage in healthy relationship behaviors. Couples that have become distant, engage in routine or severe conflict, or have developed hostile patterns of communication are often in need of immediate help. A few signs that couples therapy is particularly helpful are:
- Loss of the “friendship” within a marriage
- Consistent pattern of invalidation, arguing or “bickering”
- Routine fighting, particularly fighting that includes insulting language
- Absence of emotional, physical or sexual intimacy
- Avoidance of time together
- Secrecy or an unwillingness to discuss important topics
- Presence of an affair, or frequent thoughts about seeing another person
How Do I Get Started with Couples Therapy?
Meeting with a couples therapist for an initial evaluation is the first step. In this visit, the therapist gathers some background information about your relationship, and the patterns that you struggle with. They also help determine what style and focus of therapy is likely to benefit you. To request an initial evaluation, fill out or contact form here, or give us a call.