Everything You Need to Know About Couples Therapy
Couples therapy is usually a process that takes place when a relationship is broken. Infidelity, difficulty communicating, lack of trust, and the list goes on. With the help of a therapist, the goal is to re-engage the dialogue and listen to each other in a more productive way. Are you hesitant to skip the important step? Let’s take a look at the characteristics of couples therapy, and its benefits.
The goals of couples therapy
Engaging in couples therapy is not just about avoiding separation, as sometimes this option remains the only possible outcome. However, it can help to live through the breakdown more serenely, offering both partners some relief, hope, and constructive action items, regarding their discontent or resentment.
We embark on couples therapy when a lack of communication within the couple no longer allows them to understand each other and evolve together. The intervention of a third party therefore becomes necessary. It is the role of the therapist, also considered as a mediator, who will help everyone express their feelings, in a calm and respectful way.
When to start couples therapy?
As is the case with individual therapy, couples’ therapy is usually considered when there is suffering within the couple, in one or both partners.
Repetitive misunderstandings, shouting matches and silences contribute to creating a harmful atmosphere that is detrimental to the couple’s wellbeing. It is recommended not to delay consulting a registered marriage and family therapist, and start couples therapy before reaching a point where the situation can no longer be salvaged.
Couples may also have to start therapy to be able to get through traumatic or taboo experiences such as infidelity, but also an illness, a miscarriage or the death of a child.
How does couples therapy work?
During a couples therapy session, the couples therapist offers various exercises, such as role-playing, for example. The therapist may also ask participants to define certain key aspects within their relationship, and may offer constructive exercises to be performed outside of the session, throughout their daily lives.
The goal is that through various processes, the partners can take a new look at each other and learn to talk to each other again.
Each individual in the couple must be allotted adequate time to speak, and it is imperative that neither of them feel aggravated or frustrated when leaving the session, at the risk of creating distrust or some rejection during future therapy sessions.
In order to take a step back concerning attitudes and behaviors, some therapists choose to record the couple and reveal or focus on certain images, at the end of the session or later, with the client’s consent.
What are the most common reasons to consult?
Many reasons can lead a couple to therapy. However, a few common reasons frequently recur:
- Disagreements about children (blended family or not)
- Sexual difficulties
- Distance or resentment that takes hold
- Permanent conflicts
- Difficulties in communicating
- Misunderstandings linked to cultural differences
Each therapist has their own respective method for couples therapy, and will prescribe exercises accordingly. Contact Tom Caplan for more information on what can be done to better manage your relationship.