couple therapy

Your Complete Guide to Couples Therapy and Marital Therapy

Love and relationships take hard work. It requires understanding, compromise, and continued maintenance. Many people, married or not, find it unnecessary or daunting to think about counseling or couples therapy — this is especially true if they are in a healthy relationship.

However, couples counseling isn’t just about healing; it’s also about nurturing and sustaining your relationship in its growth to avoid future miscommunications.

Marriage counseling is like visiting the dentist. To prevent more serious issues such as a cavity or root canal, you brush your teeth at home and then go to the dentist for routine checkups. A dentist can help you in the case of an emergency, but if you’re familiar with how to take care of your teeth and go to your regular checkups, it’ll be less likely that you visit the dentist for an emergency. Couples therapy works similarly.

Many people erroneously think that couples therapy or marital counseling means your relationship is in trouble. However, that is not unquestionably true. Couples therapy can be used as a preventative tool and not just to address significant problems. You don’t have to wait until a serious problem occurs before you start working on healthy communication and conflict resolution skills. These tools can help strengthen your relationship and make it more resilient. Therapy is a wonderful way to get to know your partner and practice your ability to handle whatever comes your way, no matter how old you are or how long you’ve been married.

What is Couples Therapy?

During couples therapy or marital counseling, you and your partner will meet with a psychologist to speak about your relationship. Your psychologist will highlight and nurture your relationship’s strengths while helping you identify and resolve any concerns or issues. It’s important to note that it is a gradual process that will require effort from all parties. The key ingredients to successful couples therapy are open-mindedness, commitment, and patience.

This kind of relationship counseling is focused on emotions, improving relationship satisfaction, and conflict resolution between a couple. The ultimate goal for a therapist is to assist you in building a healthy and robust relationship and help resolve any conflicts or problems that may be present.

Couples and marital therapy helps people increase insight and awareness of their relationship. It helps people improve communication, resolve conflict, increase empathy, and improve relationship satisfaction.

In a study led by the American Association of Marriage and Family, about 93% of surveyed couples stated couples therapy provided efficient strategies for resolving conflicts. Furthermore, about 97% of couples reported they benefited from couples therapy.

What to Expect – Couples Therapy Session

Couples Therapy will Start with the Basics

The first few couples therapy sessions will focus on getting to know you, your partner, and your relationship. It may be more of an interview-style format where the therapist learns about each person’s unique background. The therapist may ask questions regarding your relationship, family-of-origin, cultural background, and personal values so they may better understand you and your partner.

As couples counseling continues, sessions typically grow more conversational in nature. It’s essential that couples listen to each other, be respectful, and enter therapy with an open mind. 

Goals and Treatment Plans in Marital and Couples Therapy

Your therapist will help you identify underlying problems or concerns which become the treatment focus. They will establish a unique treatment plan to help you reach your goals.

Goals may be different for each couple. For example, some couples may want to improve communication, others may want to fall in love with each other again, and others may wish to end their relationship on good terms. Moreover, goals may also change or evolve throughout the course of therapy.

Techniques and Conversation in Couples Therapy

Your therapist may provide you with skills and techniques to help build empathy, improve communication, and reinforce compromise, trust, honesty, patience, and love. It’s essential that couples listen to each other, be respectful, and enter therapy with an open mind.

You may be asked to do homework by your therapist, such as going on a date while keeping your phones stored away, logging arguments and emotions, and reading relationship books. 

Couples may have assignments or tasks to work on outside of therapy. For example, an assignment may be communicating using ‘I’ statements instead of “You” statements. You might discuss the insight you gained from this assignment or whether it was helpful, challenging, or successful.

You will discuss open-ended questions, have time to discuss anything that occurred during the week or that has been on your mind. Couples therapy allows the couple to express themselves openly, using beneficial tools to help improve communication and understanding.

Things to Know When Considering Couples Counseling

You can do therapy on your own –  

If your companion refuses to attend couples therapy, you can go alone to individual therapy. Going on your own to learn appropriate coping strategies may help you better cope with the stressors of your relationship. Furthermore, it can give you additional insight into the concerns and issues you are facing. However, for couples therapy to work – both partners must be willing to make changes and commit to the process.

Couples Therapy can either be short-term or long-term – 

Some couples only need a few sessions, while others may require therapy for many months. Your therapist will recommend the best treatment plan for you based on your situation.

Additional help may be needed – 

Individual therapy may be recommended if you or your partner is struggling with drug addiction, substance abuse problems, or mental illness. Your therapist can work with another healthcare provider to provide comprehensive treatment.

Couples Therapy: Who Should Consider it?

Couples therapy may be beneficial for all kinds of relationships. Couples therapy can help resolve current issues between couples, prevent concerns from becoming a significant problem, or provide happy couples with maintenance checkups if they have experienced a difficult life change.

Couples Therapy and Marital Therapy in Florida

If you’re interested in couples therapy or marital therapy, we’re here to help!

Hello, I’m Dr. Carolina Raeburn, a licensed Clinical Psychologist with a subspecialty in neuropsychology in Miami. I help people with emotional concerns and those adjusting to life changes. I offer coaching and bespoke psychotherapy for individuals and couples, providing cognitive behavioral therapy, depression treatment, anxiety treatment, panic attack treatment, stress management, as well as help those going through life changes, such as grief and loss, chronic and terminal illness, injuries, retirement, perfectionism, and much more.

If you have any questions about my services, please feel free to reach out through the contact form. Or, if you’re ready to start your path to a better tomorrow, please make your appointment today.

*All the information published in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Any information provided here is offered in generic form. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. 


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