Couples’ therapy is a form of therapy in which a couple works with a therapist in order to facilitate change in their relationship. The aim of the therapy is not to resolve the issues of the couple but rather to facilitate an observation of the relational patterns that might underpin some of the difficulties in the couple’s relationship. Some couples might go to therapy in order to change and improve their relationship whereas others might seek couples’ therapy in order to consider a decision to separate.
There might be several indications for seeking couples’ therapy such as difficulties with communication, sexual problems, issues of trust, or frequent arguments. The therapeutic approach used by the therapist will depend mainly on the presenting problems of the couple though often a schema therapy approach can be a useful foundation for understanding relational difficulties.
Couples’ therapy can be short term if the couple wish to work on a specific concern in their relationship. The therapist will develop a specific and tailor made treatment plan with the couple they are working with following two or three sessions of an initial assessment and the development of a formulation of the couple’s difficulties. Following the development of a formulation therapy will aim to change the nature of the interactions so that the couple’s problems improve.
What can I expect if I receive couples’ therapy?
- The number of sessions you will need will depend on the nature of the presenting difficulties so your therapist will make a plan with you after the first few sessions.
- Exploring painful subjects in couples’ therapy can be challenging for couples but can be extremely helpful in understanding relational dynamics and where things might be stuck.
- Your therapist is likely to make concrete suggestions and give you homework tasks to do on your own or with your partner between sessions.
- Being open about the difficulties you have with each other and motivated to make changes will improve the speed of improvements in the relationship.