Does Couples Counseling Work? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

One of the most essential needs we have as human beings is the need for companionship. Healthy relationships help us thrive and also fulfill our emotional needs. We all desire affection, and we feel good when we know that other people care deeply about us. Relationships, whether they are romantic, friendships or familial fulfill our need for intimacy and teach us to receive, share and express love.

Like with all other forms of relationships, romantic relationships require hard work and effort. Just like our physical bodies, they require constant maintenance to keep them running smoothly. Most people visit the doctor for a routine check-up once in while to ensure that every organ is working the way that it should. This is the same attitude we should have towards relationships.

Sadly, a lot of people view relationship counseling as a last ditch effort in saving a doomed relationship. In fact, research shows that the average couple is unhappy for 6 years before making the decision to see a counselor. Couples therapy is really beneficial for all relationships, and it helps to improve overall relationship satisfaction even when things are running smoothly. In this article, we explore what relationship counseling is, what it entails and how it can benefit your relationship.

At Thrivetalk, we are committed to making therapy as accessible as possible. Our mission is to change the way couples therapy has been traditionally practiced and make it more accessible and affordable for the couples who need it. We also help couples overcome the stigma that’s attached to going to couples therapy. Our therapists are trained to listen with empathy and used their expertise to assist couples in improving their relationship.

If you need relationship counseling, our therapists are ready to help you. All our therapists are well trained and certified. We list only the best therapists and we match you with an experienced therapist based on your needs and preferences. Our process is simple and we will help you find the perfect therapist in minutes.

What Is Couples Counseling?

Couples counseling, also known as couples therapy or relationship counseling is a type of psychotherapy. Couples counseling helps all types of couples recognize and resolve conflict, and rebuild intimacy in their relationships. It is helpful for all couples, whether the partners are considering separation or seeking new ways to improve their relationship. In couples counseling, the focus is on the relationship, however, each partner is encouraged to pay attention to self-improvement and self-awareness.

Couples counseling is usually provided by Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT). These therapists usually have graduate or postgraduate degrees and they choose to be approved by the American Association for Marriage and Family therapy (AAMFT). Couples counseling is great for couples who are experiencing difficulties such as constant arguments, feelings of distance, dissatisfaction, lack of intimacy and affection and resentment.

What Does Couples Counseling Involve?

Couples therapy usually starts with the therapist asking the couple questions about their relationship as well as personal questions about each partner. The therapist will then help the couple pinpoint the issue that will be the focus of the treatment, set treatment goals and plan a treatment structure. During treatment, the therapist will help the couple understand the problem, provide them with healthy tactics for navigating it, and help both partners understand their role in solving the problem. The therapist will also give assignments to help them apply the skills that they’ve learned in therapy to their daily interactions.

Types Of Couples Counseling

Couples counseling is beneficial to couples in all types of intimate relationships, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status. Here are some of the different types of couples counseling.

Premarital Counseling

This is the specialized type of therapy that helps couples prepare for a long-term commitment such as marriage. Premarital counseling helps couples build a healthy, strong foundation for their union. It also helps couples identify and address potential areas of conflict in their relationships such as finances, children, parenting, sex, decision making, and marriage roles.  The couple then learns effective strategies for discussing and resolving conflict. Furthermore, it helps couples identify and establish their expectations for the marriage.

A study published in the Journal of Family psychology showed that couples who go through premarital counseling are 31% less likely to divorce. Premarital counseling is usually provided by a specialist over the course of a few sessions. During these sessions, the couple might be asked to do some activities both separately and together to understand how they work together and their level of compatibility.

Marriage Counseling

Marriage counseling helps married couples understand and resolve conflicts in a healthy manner. The therapist provides the couple with tools to communicate better and solve problems. Marriage counseling helps couples rediscover themselves and their feelings for each other

Group Counseling

Group counseling is usually used alongside private couples therapy. Here, the couple is grouped with other couples facing the same issues. There are discussions on how to communicate better, healthy ways to argue, dealing with feelings of anger and rejection, how to rekindle intimacy, etc. This helps the couple realize that they’re not the only couple who has issues.

When Should We Go To Couples Counseling?

Every couple experiences conflict at one point or the other and it can be hard to know when it’s time to seek help. When do you know it’s time to consider couples counseling? It’s important to note that experts agree that it’s best to seek couples counseling as soon as you become unhappy in a relationship. Therapy shouldn’t be delayed until there’s a full-blown crisis. Here are some examples of situations where couples counseling is necessary.

Preparing for changes in the relationship- When a major change is about to occur in your relationship, such as marriage or childbirth or separation it’s advised that you seek couples therapy. Couples who are about to get married will greatly benefit from premarital counseling. Couples who have decided to separate will also benefit from couples therapy As it will help them explore buried wounds, heal and separate on a healthy note.

Trust concerns

Once trust is broken, relationships shatter. It’s essential to seek couples therapy once there has been a breach of trust or a suspected breach of trust. Couples therapy helps partners to rebuild trust by allowing them to vulnerably express themselves and by providing them with the skills to move on.

Increasing Conflict

When you and your partner seem to argue about the same things over and over again, it could mean that there are problems beneath the surface that you’re refusing to deal with. Couples therapy helps you to dig deep, find out what these problems are, and resolve them healthily.

Communication problems

Proper and healthy communication is the fuel of every relationship. If you notice that you and your partner barely talk and share how you really feel, or you’re constantly misunderstand each other, or maybe you really don’t just know what’s going on in each other’s lives anymore. This is a sign that you need couples counseling. One of the great benefits of couples counseling is that it helps to increase healthy communication. The therapist helps you learn how to listen to and understand each other much better.

Intimacy problems

Relationships thrive on physical and emotional intimacy. If you feel like the ‘spark’ is gone and you’re no longer excited about each other, couples therapy can help to bring back memories of the things you love about each other and why you’re so crazy about each other. If your sex life has changed significantly, you might need a counselor’s help to reignite the flames.

Does Couples Counseling Actually Work?

According to the American Psychological Association, couples counseling is 75% effective. This is based on research that was carried out over a period of 25 years. Couples counseling can help to improve relationships greatly. When both partners are actively involved and completely committed to improving their relationship, couples therapy is most effective. Also, the more open each partner is to changing their habits and seeing things from a different point of view, the more successful couples therapy is likely to be.

Challenges Of Couples Counseling

Couple therapy teaches couples to improve their relationship by communicating better and strengthening their emotional bond. However, couples may face some challenges that stall their progress. Here are some challenges that might occur during couples counseling.

  • One of the partners may be reluctant or unwilling to undergo couples counseling.
  • The couple may have inaccurate assumptions about couples counseling.
  • Sometimes, couples are more interested in blaming each other rather than taking responsibility for their own shortcomings and working together towards the goal of fixing the relationship.
  • Some partners find it difficult to come clean during therapy sessions and keep secrets about issues such as affairs and addictions.
  • Some partners don’t follow through by refusing to do what the therapist asks them to or refusing to apply the lessons they’re learning to the relationship.
  • Some couples wait too long before getting the help they need. Sometimes, it’s too late to salvage the relationship.

Couples Counseling Online

Relationship counseling helps you and your partner release pent-up emotions, learn more about each other and learn to treat each other better. It also teaches you both to be conscious of your actions and decisions. All of this is done with the help of a qualified relationship counselor who helps you to process all these feelings and arrive at a solution that works for you both in a safe space. Online therapy has several advantages that may not be available in traditional face to face couples therapy.

One of the major benefits of online relationship therapy is that you can easily fit it into both your schedules, so it’s easier to convince your partner to join you in therapy because there’s no need to go to the therapist’s office. Also, if you have kids and have difficulty finding childcare, online relationship counseling is great because you can access your therapist from the comfort of your home without having to leave your kids.

Couples counseling is usually not covered by most insurance plans and a few sessions can be quite expensive. A lot of couples don’t go for relationship therapy because they’re unable to afford it. Online therapy is a much more affordable alternative and helps couples resolve their relationship issues without breaking the bank.

After online relationship counseling, a lot of couples gain insight into the patterns in their relationship, learn to express themselves better and possess the skills to communicate with each other more effectively.

Find a Therapist Now

Here at ThriveTalk, we’re all about providing honest therapy for everybody. We understand therapy can feel like a big commitment and that it can feel scary or shameful. That’s why we’ve created this blog, to talk about tough subjects and demystify the world of mental health and therapy. And that’s also why we try to be straightforward and upfront in everything that we do. We have our pricing here. You can meet some of our therapists here.

Through all of this, our job is to help you in whatever way we can, whether that’s answering your questions or helping walk you through the hard times in your life. So if you think you might need therapy, just have a few simple questions, or just plain don’t know what to do, get in touch with us here, and we’ll do everything we can to help you make the best choice for your life. We’re here to help you take care of you.

Making the decision to undergo couples counseling can be difficult. However, it is worth it. If you have a troubled relationship, seeking help is the best decision you can make. Most couples come out of couples counseling with stronger relationships.

author avatar
Angel Rivera
I am a Bilingual (Spanish) Psychiatrist with a mixture of strong clinical skills including Emergency Psychiatry, Consultation Liaison, Forensic Psychiatry, Telepsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry training in treatment of the elderly. I have training in EMR records thus very comfortable in working with computers. I served the difficult to treat patients in challenging environments in outpatient and inpatient settings
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