Invest in your partnership by working together with the support of a skilled clinician. Many couples find themselves in relationships where they feel they are revisiting the same issues over and over again but are not making any progress. Sometimes people feel that their needs are not being met or that they have a hard time communicating. Others may have different parenting styles that create continual conflict within the partnership. These are common problems, but they are not impossible issues to resolve when you address them through couples therapy. When you involve a counselor, you are adding an objective third party who brings years of experience working with couples and understands what strategies and practices work to create more satisfaction within a relationship.
Communication is Key in Couples Therapy
It’s often said that the people who enjoy lasting relationships are those who are willing to have difficult conversations, and while this statement simplifies a complex process, it’s also true! In a partnership both parties want to feel heard and accepted. But when two people don’t see eye to eye on a given issue, it can be easy for them to become defensive and blame each other. This cycle is common and unproductive. Part of couples counseling is learning to step back from communication patterns that aren’t working so that each person has the emotional bandwidth to truly see and hear their partner. When couples learn more about each other–their attachment styles, their personality types, and the ways they give and receive love–each person can grow in empathic understanding of their spouse. Developing empathic understanding makes it so much easier to accept the other person, to truly see and value the other person for who they are.
Common Tools for Marriage & Couples Therapy:
- Uncovering underlying issues that haven’t been brought to light yet.
- Learning about attachment styles.
- Understanding how to truly listen and validate another person.
- Discovering each person’s love language–the way they give and receive love.
- Establishing ground rules for working through conflict.
- Learning how to repair the relationship once conflict has happened.
- Finding ways to support each other’s dreams and aspirations.
- Developing regular habits that rekindle your spark for dating and romance.
Our therapists use couples therapy methods that are research-based which means they are backed by evidence of effectiveness. These approaches include treatments like Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT) and Gottman Therapy. Emotionally-Focused Therapy seeks to increase emotional awareness in a couple and posits that focusing on emotions is the key to changing cognitions and behaviors. The three stages of EFT include de-escalation, restructuring interactions, and consolidation.
Gottman Therapy aims to help couples build stronger relationships. Dr. John Gottman has conducted a myriad of studies that identify both risk factors for marriages ending and best practices for keeping them together. The four risk factors include criticism of a partner’s personality, defensiveness, stonewalling, and contempt. On the other hand, couples who function well treat each other with respect and acceptance. The goals of the Gottman Method include developing closeness, addressing conflict in healthy ways, and building a life of shared meaning together. The Seven Principles of Gottman include:
- Build Love Maps
- Express Fondness and Admiration
- Turn Toward One Another
- Accept Influence
- Solve Problems That Are Solvable
- Manage Conflict and Overcome Gridlock
- Create Shared Meaning
What to expect
Typically, both partners attend marriage counseling sessions together. Sometimes, a counselor will ask to see one person alone to work on a deeper issue together before bringing the couple back together. The usual length of the sessions is 50 minutes, but there may be occasions where a counselor asks to complete a longer session. Because every couple arrives at counseling with unique dynamics, the number of sessions it takes to see improvements varies quite a bit. Once your counselor gets to know you, he or she will be able to create a treatment plan with you that covers the scope of the issues you want to work on.
Today is the Day
Most counselors agree that many relationships start couples therapy too late, after resentment has been building for a long time. To avoid living in patterns that are not productive, we encourage you to address issues early so you can create the partnership you have always wanted to have. Visit our Clinician’s Page to explore the many couples therapists we have on staff that can work with you to build the satisfying relationship you deserve!