Couples therapy is a type of psychotherapy, which helps two people involved in a romantic relationship gain insight into their relationship, resolve conflict and improve relationship satisfaction.
Couples therapy is beneficial for any romantic relationship, whether partners are married, engaged, dating or living together. It is helpful for younger and older couples as well as opposite or same-sex couples. It is beneficial for couples that are in arranged marriages or partnerships of their own choosing. Some couples come to therapy within a few months or years of meeting each other and others come in after being with each other for several decades. The purpose is to improve and allow for healing in the couples’ relationship.
Common areas of concern addressed in couples therapy include issues with lack of communication, money, parenting, sex, infidelity, in-laws, difficulties with children, chronic health problems, infertility, addictions and substance use, co-dependency, emotional distance and constant conflict or arguments.
The therapist will help the couple gain insight into the relational dynamics maintaining the problem while helping both partners understand each of their roles in the dysfunctional interactions. This will help them change the way they perceive the relationship and each other. The aim is to help them gain a better understanding of themselves and their partner, to decide if they need and want to make changes, and if so, to help them to do so.This type of therapy can also help couples decide if they should continue staying together.
It involves both partners sitting down with a trained professional once or twice a week to discuss their thoughts and feelings.Therefore, for therapy to be effective, it is essential that both partners attend all sessions and maintain a commitment to the process.
The therapist taking a mediating role, which can sometimes be more directive and goal oriented than individual therapy. It is important to understand that couples therapy is focussed on the relationship rather than on individual process and trauma – for which Individual therapy may be more useful. That being said, there are times in couples therapy when the individual psychological issues of one or both parties need to be addressed as well.