Couple Counselling is a type of psychotherapy that can help you and your partner strengthen your bond. Couples therapy helps you to mend your relationship if you’re having problems.
Couple therapy can be beneficial at any stage of a relationship, even though it is frequently used to address issues. Counseling that improves communication and connection can still be helpful for those in happy, healthy relationships. In today’s competitive environment couples usually tend to lack communication and understanding, which results in misunderstandings and issues in a relationship. It is crucial to identify these problems and find a permanent solution for them in order to have a healthy relationship.
Reasons you may need couples therapy:
Partners can begin counseling when they decide to commit to couples therapy for any issue that is generating conflict, distress, or mistrust.
Couples can visit a therapist to:
- Reestablish trust after betrayal.
- Treachery and improve connection on a physical and emotional level.
- If you’re dissatisfied with the relationship.
- To get over some trauma.
- Transition together, such as becoming parents or making a significant relocation.
- Support one or both couples in their recovery from a substance use problem.
- Discover more about your relationship.
- Find stability when you’re feeling overwhelmed by life’s responsibilities.
- Get support while you’re grieving the loss of a loved one.
- Rekindle your spark.
- Work through infertility with the assistance of a third party
- Determine the importance and seriousness of a relationship
- Manage finances
Types of Couples Therapy
- Emotionally focused therapy (EFT): EFT aims to strengthen your attachment and bond with your partner. Your therapist assists you in recognizing and altering the behaviors that cause you to feel cut off. Gottman approach: This approach entails addressing points of contention and giving you and your partner problem-solving abilities. It tries to raise your level of closeness with your partner and the standard of your friendship. Using Ellen Wachtel’s method: This strategy is focused on strengths and emphasizes the advantages of the partnership. It emphasizes introspection rather than placing blame.
- Imago relationship therapy:The 1980 development of Imago relationship therapy by Drs. Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt place a focus on the relationship between adult relationships and early experiences. The goal of the therapy is to help couples become more compassionate and understanding of one another by helping them comprehend childhood trauma.
- Solution-Focussed Therapy: Solution-focused therapy is a paradigm to take into consideration if you’re working through a particular issue, feeling burnt out, or attempting to achieve a particular goal. The method is described as “a short-term goal-focused evidence-based therapeutic strategy that helps clients change by developing solutions rather than concentrating on problems” by the Institute for Solution-Focused Therapy.
- Narrative therapy: People tell stories about their difficulties and then rewrite them as part of the narrative therapy process. They can realize that no one’s story can possibly capture the entirety of their experience as a result of this. Sam Nabil, the CEO and primary therapist at Naya Clinics, asserts that there will always be discrepancies and inconsistencies. Couples who believe their relationship is failing because of both of their faults may find benefit from narrative therapy. It has even been demonstrated to lessen conflict and boost cooperation among couples, according to a 2016 study.
- Psychodynamic couple’s therapy: To better understand one another, psychodynamic therapy focuses on the underlying motives that drive you and your partner.
- Behavioral therapy: The goal of behavioral therapy, also referred to as behavioral couples therapy (BCT), is to change behavior by enforcing positive behaviors that encourage stability and satisfaction and discouraging negative behaviors.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), sometimes known as cognitive behavioral couples therapy (CBCT), is to recognize and alter thought patterns that have a negative impact on behavior.
- Some forms of couple counseling include: marriage counseling, premarital counseling, and family therapy.
PRACTICAL TECHNIQUES FOR COUPLE COUNSELLING
1. Reflective listening
Laura Louis, a certified psychologist at Atlanta Couple Therapy, describes reflective listening as a highly advantageous practice in which the couple alternates being active listeners.
Use “I” statements rather than “you” expressions. Instead of saying, “You’re wrong for doing xyz,” try saying, “I feel incredibly horrible when you do xyz.”
Couples who alternate being active listeners benefit from improved healthy communication and conflict resolution abilities.
2. Gottman Method
Among couples therapists, The Gottman Method is a well-liked technique. The method is intended to assist couples in managing conflict while developing a deeper knowledge of one another. Additionally, it could be beneficial for other problems including intimacy and relationship adjustment.
- Assessment: Following a joint session, each couple is interviewed separately. After completing questionnaires, couples get feedback on their interactions.
- Therapeutic Model: The frequency and length of the sessions are decided by the couple and the therapist.
- Therapeutic Approaches: Interventions are intended to assist couples in improving their friendship, dispute resolution, and development of shared meaning in their relationships. Couples learn to mend past wounds and replace destructive conflict habits with constructive interactions.
3. Get crafty
When you and your partner are facing relationship problems, having a physical reminder of your shared aspirations and ambitions might be helpful, according to Louis.
She counsels couples to get creative by setting goals and gathering images that represent their ideal relationship.
It serves as a concrete reminder that marriages are ongoing projects and that building a solid, enduring partnership requires effort from both partners.
4. Find deeper topics to engage with
Ask your partner questions that are more in-depth than “What’s for dinner tonight?” and move past basic talks.
A qualified professional counselor named Kelly Sinning enjoys assigning her patients the simple task of conversing with one another as homework.
She says, “We frequently get so busy with the day-to-day necessities, that we don’t notice talking about anything else other than the same monotone conversations.”
It’s crucial to pose questions such, as “What does your ideal life look like?” and to discuss themes like infidelity or spirituality.
5. Express appreciation
Your admiration for one another can be strengthened by expressing your gratitude and discussing what works in your relationship.
According to Meagan Prost, a certified professional clinical counselor, “make it a habit of expressing appreciation every day through in-person discussions, texts, or a sticky note in a place your partner will discover it.”
6. Identify your partner’s love language
Simply being in a relationship does not guarantee that you will feel love the same way.
Dr. Gary Chapman’s book “The 5 Love Languages” assists couples in figuring out what makes them feel loved so they can be there for one another.
According to the five love languages, each person has a favourite method of receiving love:
- receiving gifts
- acts of service
- words of affirmation
- quality time
- physical touch
7. Schedule important conversations
Are you hoping to have a significant or challenging conversation with your partner? Take it from the professionals: Planned conversations are greatest when they are serious.
Because the timing is off and we aren’t in the right frame of mind to have serious conversations, we frequently engage in conflict. To ensure that no one is taken off guard, it is advised to arrange difficult conversations in advance. It might be having a date with your spouse and then conversing afterward, or it can be just setting aside time to have a meaningful conversation in a setting you feel comfortable in.
8. Pencil in one-on-one time
Even though life can seem chaotic, don’t let outside demands take priority over time spent with your partner.
Setting out an hour for “couples time” is a terrific place to begin. You can set aside an hour once a week or more frequently to discuss subjects that can strengthen your connection.
9. Fill your intimacy bucket
Recognize that both as a pair and as individuals, you have intimacy requirements.
The following types of intimacy are included in what Garcia refers to as the “intimacy bucket”:
Find activities for each category by taking your time. For instance, you can go on a Zoom game night and meet new people while pursuing a new pastime.
10. Practice partner yoga
Consider participating in couples yoga with your partner.
As you move through tandem poses in partner yoga, you can balance along with your partner, building and enhancing trust.
A 2016 study discovered a link between relationship satisfaction and mindfulness. You’ll be one with your partner during your practice if you coordinate your breathing, and the advantages can even outweigh those of your yoga class.
11. Show interest in each other’s day
When was the last time you enquired about your partner’s day’s greatest anticipation? Discussing your partner’s plans and objectives will assist them and help them feel cared for in your relationship.
12. Share a list of things you want from your partner
It’s also crucial to share a list of items with your partner in order to build your relationship. List four things that would make you happy that your partner could do on a weekly basis. While staring each other in the eyes, discuss your list.
The lists serve as a reminder of the things your partner can do once a week to improve communication and trust in your relationship, even if they are not necessarily things they can do every day.
13. Connect through music
Remember when you used to create the best mixtape for your high school flame?
According to a 2011 study, shared musical tastes strengthen interpersonal relationships.
Create a playlist of songs that make you nostalgic for your lover and the times you’ve shared. Exchange playlists to learn more about each other’s amorous side.
14. Take out time for intimacy
Eye-Gazing: Making prolonged eye contact with your lover could make you two feel more connected. Long-term eye contact can improve intimacy, trust, and the ability to discern emotions. Eye contact has been linked in a 2018 study to “self-other merging,” which is the process of erasing the boundaries between you and the other person to feel one.
Cuddling or Physical Contact: There is a reason why hugging your mate is so relaxing, Your body releases oxytocin when you cuddle, which lowers cortisol, the stress hormone. Your partner’s touch could serve as a stress reducer and assist lower resting blood pressure. This implies that if you’re experiencing warm, fuzzy feelings, your body is functioning properly.
15. Unplug from Devices and Practice gratitude
In a 2014 Pew Research Center study, 25% of individuals in significant relationships said their partners were distracted by their phones while they were alone.
Focusing on your phone rather than your spouse in a social situation is referred to as phone snubbing (or “phubbing”) and could have a negative impact on you. Instead, it may be advantageous to cultivate gratitude. Numerous advantages of gratitude include improving your own and your relationship’s wellbeing.
It has been shown that expressing gratitude to your partner boosts the hormone oxytocin, which helps you feel calm and reduce stress. In their study, researchers discovered that feeling grateful produced a “greater experienced love.”
Spend some time sharing three things you are thankful for with your partner at the end of each day.
1. Changes the views of the relationship.
The therapist makes an effort to assist both couples in viewing the relationship objectively throughout the course of therapy. In a process including each partner, they learn to put an end to the “blame game” and instead focus on what occurs to them. They may also gain from understanding the circumstances in which their relationship exists. Couples who struggle financially, for instance, will experience several types of situational stress. The first step in this approach is for the therapist to observe the partners’ interactions and gather “data” on them. Then, therapists create “hypotheses” regarding the possible causes of the partners’ interactions. Depending on the therapist’s specific theoretical approach, they may convey this knowledge to the couple in a different way.
2. Modifies dysfunctional behavior.
Effective couples therapists make an effort to alter the spouses’ actual interactions with one another. This means that therapists need to make sure that their clients are not acting in ways that could endanger their bodily, psychological, or financial well-being in addition to assisting them in improving their connections. The relationship may also profit from “time-out” techniques to prevent the escalation of dispute if the risk is not too great.
3. Decreases emotional avoidance
Couples who keep their emotions to themselves run a larger danger of getting emotionally distant from one another. Effective couples therapists assist their patients in communicating the feelings and ideas they are afraid to share with the other person. Couples counseling that is attachment-based enables the partners to communicate their need for intimacy without fear. This point of view holds that some partners carry unfulfilled demands into their adult relationships because they were unable to form “safe” emotional attachments throughout their childhood. They are hesitant to admit how dependent they are on their spouses out of concern that they will be rejected. Adults may be reluctant to reveal their genuine emotions because in the past they did not receive “reinforcement,” according to behaviorally based therapists.
4. Improves communication.
One of the “three C’s” of closeness is communication. The goal of all successful couple’s therapy is to improve communication between the spouses. Therefore, in order to learn how to communicate with one another in a more encouraging and understanding manner, couples may need “coaching.” The couple may also receive didactic training from the therapist to help them understand what forms of communication work well and which only exacerbate conflict. For instance, they can learn to empathize and listen more intently.
5. Promotes strengths
Effective couples therapists emphasize the positive aspects of the relationship and foster resilience, especially as therapy comes to an end. It’s simple to overlook the other areas in which couples perform well because so much of couples counselling entails focusing on problem areas. The goal of building strength is to increase the couple’s pleasure of one another. One partner may follow the behaviorally focused therapist’s “prescription” to do something that makes the other partner happy. The couple might be assisted in creating a more uplifting “story” or narrative about their relationship by therapists from various orientations who place a greater emphasis on emotions. In either scenario, the therapist should refrain from attempting to define what constitutes strength on his or her own terms and allow this to be established.
Couple counselling is a crucial part of mental health treatments. Research has shown it to be beneficial in addressing generalized relationship discomfort, recurrent relationship issues, as well as individual emotional and behavioral challenges. To close the frequently noted gap between clinical research and practise, systematic investigations defining transformation processes and prescriptive measures of treatment response will be essential. Recent findings provide significant support for applying the findings of couple therapy research to better couple therapist training and more successful interventions in community agency and practice settings.
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