What can couples therapy do?
Couples therapy is a kind of psychotherapy in which a licensed and specialized counselor helps romantic partners understand and reduce conflict, create connection through improved communication and heal from major relationship wounds like infidelity. Couples therapy usually involves one therapists who have received specialized training because couples therapy isn't regulated like the practice of medicine. Technically, anyone can claim to do couples therapy.
At The Practice, we are specialty-trained therapists, licensed by the State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists. Not all of us practice couples therapy.
How can couples therapy help us?
Couples therapy helps romantic partners shed light on the patterns they get into that keep them from experiencing life the way they want. We focus on helping couples get behind the dumb and meaningless fights over small things like taking out the trash to understand how deeper emotional and psychological experiences are the real conflict drivers. We'll start by helping you see the same fights you've always had with a new understanding. After that, we'll understand what's behind the communication problems and bring vulnerable emotional experiences out into the light of the therapy room. Finally, once we feel satisfied with the new understanding, we'll work exclusively on helping you take those new understandings home with you.
What if my partner doesn't want couples therapy?
We understand this is a challenge. When partners don't want to come to couples therapy, we still believe there is potential value in finding an individual therapist to work with through relationship concerns. In our experience, the best way to motivate a partner to come to therapy is to make positive changes yourself. This creates curiosity, which motivates. We also know that some helping professionals advertise a "couples therapy for one" model, but that's not us. As much as we'd love to promote ourselves as having the ability to make significant change with only one partner in the room, that's therapist's version of a sales gimmick. There's absolutely zero outcome research on the concept of couples therapy with only one partner. Although we believe we can help you have a positive impact on all your social relationships through therapy, the kind of specialized work it takes to make deep rooted changes in a relationship requires both intimate partners in the room.
Is couples therapy the same thing as marriage counseling?
We use these terms interchangeably depending on what kind of a relationship you have. There's absolutely no difference between couples therapy and marriage counseling from a professional perspective. They're the same thing.
What issues does marriage counseling help with?
Couples therapy can help with lots of issues. Here are just a few:
- Ineffective communication
- Mental illness and relationship satisfaction
- Sexual challenges
- Conflict, conflict, conflict...resolution
- Blended family challenges
- Affair recovery
- Values conflicts
- Transitions like childbirth or retirement
If you've got a supportive partner and you want to go to therapy, we say bring her or him in. We find that even if the concerns you have aren't caused by your relationship, having a partner in the room and choosing couples therapy as your therapeutic service can make the process more meaningful and possibly even more effective.