Are you considering couples counseling? When you feel really stuck and are repeating frustrating arguments or are unable to communicate about some really important topics like sex, money, in-laws, chores, parenting struggles etc., you might benefit from couples counseling.

Lots of people say they would like to have a better marriage or relationship. And they’ve heard of couples therapy – also called couples counseling or marriage counseling – but they’re not sure what it is.

The purpose of this article is to help inform you so you know what couples therapy entails and whether it’s right for you and your partner. It includes some observations about change and relationships, things to think about if you’re considering couples therapy. Finally, in case you decide to try therapy, there are a few points to help you find a therapist who is a good match for you and your partner.

Goals and Objectives of Couples Therapy

A professional couples therapist can help you prevent a divorce, enhance your love life, or simply deepen the love you have for each other.  He or she can help you and your partner sort out your problems and build a strong relationship. A couples therapist can also help you fine-tune a good relationship to make it better.

Whether you are in the middle of a crisis, moving through an arduous transition time, or discovering unpleasant behaviors – a professional couples therapist can be a tremendous source of support, strength and growth.

Having a highly trained and objective third party helps you work through anger, resentment or frustration, and get to workable solutions. It is possible for couples to emerge from a difficult situation feeling more intimate and committed than they ever were before.

The major aim of therapy is increasing your knowledge about yourself, your partner and the patterns of interaction between you. Therapy becomes effective as you apply new knowledge to break ineffective patterns and develop better ones.

Good couples therapy increases your clarity about:

  • The kind of life you want to build together
  • The kind of partner you aspire to be in order to build the kind of life and relationship you want to create
  • Your individual blocks to becoming the kind of partner you aspire to be
  • The skills and knowledge necessary to do the above tasks

To create sustained improvement in your relationship you need:

  • A vision of the life you want to build together
  • To have a life separate from your partner
  • The appropriate attitudes and skills to work as a team
  • The motivation to persist
  • Time to review progress

Here’s a helpful approach to couple's therapy. Before each session:

  • Reflect on your objectives for being in therapy.
  • Think about your next step that supports or relates to your larger objectives for the kind of relationship you wish to create, or the partner you aspire to become.

Attitude is The Key

When it comes to improving your relationship, your attitude toward change is more important than what action to take.

Identifying what to do and how to do it is often easy to identify. The bigger challenge is understanding why you don't do it.

Thinking differently about a problem is often more effective than just trying to figure out what action to take.

Your partner is quite limited in his/her ability to respond to you. You are quite limited in your ability to respond to your partner. Learning to accept and respond to that is a huge step into maturity.

Focus on Changing Yourself Rather than Your Partner

Couples therapy works best if you have more goals for yourself than for your partner. Therapists work best when they help you reach objectives you set for yourself.

It's human nature to try and change one's partner instead of adjusting our expectations. This aspect of human nature is what keeps therapists in business.

The hardest part of couples therapy is accepting you will need to improve your response to a problem (how you think about it, feel about it, or what to do about it). Very few people want to focus on improving their response. It's more common to build a strong case for why the other should do the improving.

Becoming a more effective partner is the most efficient way to change a relationship.

It's easy to be considerate and loving to your partner when the vistas are magnificent, the sun is shining and breezes are gentle. But when it gets bone chilling cold, you're hungry and tired, and your partner is whining and sniveling about how you got them into this mess, that's when you get tested. Your leadership and your character get tested. You can join the finger pointing or become how you aspire to become.

The more you believe your partner should be different, the less initiative you will take to change the patterns between you.

Finding a Therapist For You

Of course if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, I hope you’ll choose a therapist from The Couples Institute. We all specialize in work with couples. We are licensed Psychologists and/or Marriage and Family Therapists with a level of experience and training that is unusual in other circles. But if you’re out of the area and need to find someone else, here are a few points to consider.

Look for a specialist. A therapist who usually works with individuals will be unprepared for the intensity and complexity that can arise when two hurt or angry partners are in a session together. Couples Therapists are trained in these difficult situations. They take specialized training whenever possible to keep current in the art and science of creating flourishing relationships. Ask your candidates if they have done training for couples therapists or attended recent workshops or conferences.

Find someone experienced. Are you struggling with communication, sex, depression, infertility, etc? Ask the therapist how much experience he or she has with the issues you are facing.

Consider convenience. If possible, choose a therapist whose office is near your work or home.

Check your insurance coverage. Fees for couples therapy vary by experience and geographical region. See if your health insurance will help cover the costs.

Frequently Asked Questions. Visit the FAQ page of our website for more information about couples therapy.

Would you like to request an appointment with us now? Just call 650-327-5915, 877-327-5915 or click here.

We wish you the best with your decision.

~The Couples Institute

 

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