Even the strongest and most secure of relationships will see rocky times. Between the random twists of fate that life brings and the fact we all change over time and can start to grow apart, it’s only a matter of time before serious issues may start to rise in a relationship.
One potential way to deal with these issues is to partake in couples therapy. After all, if there are problems in the relationship itself then wouldn’t it be best to face them and try to solve them together? Here we will explore some of the benefits of not just couples therapy but online therapy as well.
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What Is Couples Therapy?
Couples therapy, sometimes known as marriage counseling, is a type of psychotherapy that helps couples of all types recognize and resolve conflicts and improve their relationships. The goal of couples therapy is to help the couple make thoughtful decisions about rebuilding and strengthening their relationship. Therapy is not a guarantee that you can save your relationship. Even after therapy, couples sometimes end up going their separate ways.
Couples therapy is generally provided by licensed therapists with graduate or postgraduate degrees with many choosing to become credentialed by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Although couples therapy is usually short-term and includes both partners, sometimes the therapy sessions will last long term and have one partner work with the therapist alone. Specific treatment plans will vary based on the details of the couple and the recommendations of the therapist.
How Do I Know if I Need Couples Therapy?
Just like every individual is special and unique, so is their relationship. There is really no “right answer” when it comes to building and maintaining a healthy relationship, but we can often identify problems early on — which will help prevent them from growing into huge, unresolvable issues.
Sometimes couples with minor problems may enter into therapy together in order to strengthen their partnership and gain a better understanding of each other. There have been plenty of couples to seek couples therapy before being married in order to achieve a deeper bond and understanding by flattening out differences before entering into matrimony.
In some cases, there are couples that seek therapy to improve a troubled relationship with serious problems. Ultimately there is no right or wrong answer for seeking therapy. However, here are some of the more common issues that come up in couples therapy:
- Problems Communicating
- Sexual Difficulties
- Conflicts About Raising Children or Familial Problems
- Financial Worries
- Substance Abuse
- Anger Issues
Does Couples Therapy Work?
Couples therapy is no simple task, and experts admit it’s the hardest type of therapy for therapists to perform. First off, dealing with the issues of one person from a psychological standpoint can be challenging enough but doubling that and successfully helping two people find common ground requires tremendous empathy, talent, and professional knowledge of psychology and human behavior.
Another issue is that the cultural norms about marriage change all the time. The way a typical marriage worked in the 1960s is obviously extremely different from how many marriages work today.
Another challenge is the diversity of couples is growing and evolving as well. Some of these diversities have dramatically increased the complexity of relationships and therefore created potential issues that take more work to understand and solve together.
However, as the field of couples therapy has gotten more complex over the decades, it has also become more successful. For example, research shows that couples therapy works better now than it did in the 1990s. It works regardless of the couple’s ethnicity or nationality and may even be more effective for same-sex couples than heterosexual couples.
Some other interesting facts include:
- In the 1980s, couples therapy had a roughly 50% success rate but is now almost 70%.
- Almost 50% of married couples have gone to couples therapy at some point.
- Couples therapy sessions last an average of 12 sessions, with 66% feeling their relationship has improved with 20 sessions or less.
- Most couples will wait an average of six years after issues start to arise before seeking couples therapy.
Online Couples Therapy
Now that we have covered what exactly couples therapy is, we can go a step further and learn about online couples therapy. Online couples therapy is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a way for couples to talk to a professional therapist via electronic means of communication such as messaging, live chat, and video chat.
Most of the time, couples will be in the same room as they interact with the therapist together. Sometimes each person will have a “private room” where they can message the therapist individually. The parameters of online therapy will be different and tailored specifically to the needs of the couple but generally, the most common method is via video session.
Therapists rely on non-verbal cues to help them better understand their patients, so seeing them is a great benefit for their assessment. However, other options are available such as telephone calls or text messaging, and emails. When it comes to online therapy, there are many different ways to conduct a session, each with its own list of pros and cons.
Benefits of Online Therapy vs Traditional Therapy
Online therapy is a rapidly growing platform for both therapists and their patients, and there are several different reasons as to why. For many couples that are interested in getting therapy, there are a lot of issues that could potentially be holding them back from traditional in-person therapy.
Not having time to make and keep appointments, negative stigma with therapy, high costs of therapy sessions, worldwide stay-at-home orders, and not being able to find the right therapist are just a few reasons that come to mind. Online therapy provides solutions to all these problems in a quick and easy manner. Let’s take a closer look.
Many adults today are always on the go and are constantly busy. As a result, it can be quite a challenge for them to find time for therapy sessions. Even more difficult is trying to find a time that their partner also has in order for them to attend sessions together.
However, when it comes to online couples therapy, traditional “office hours” don’t always apply. As long as a couple has a phone or computer, they can contact their therapist and the three can set times for video calls. Additionally, therapy sessions will take place from the comfort of the couple’s home. This means that there won’t be any extra stress of dealing with traffic and driving down to the therapist’s office.
Despite slowly moving toward a more positive light, therapy still comes with a stigma from society. One of the most common reasons for people to deny their own mental health is fear of the stigma of therapy. Online therapy removes this stigma altogether by allowing couples to privately have sessions without ever having to leave the couch of their own home. As a result, there will be no more worrying about running into someone they know while heading in for a therapy session.
- Therapist Selection
Finding the right therapist that fits your specific needs can be quite difficult. This is a person who will have a profound impact on who you are individually and what happens in your relationship, so it’s very important to find the right one. Traditional therapy would have patients searching for therapists based on proximity instead of personality.
Depending on where a couple lives and what doctor is working around them would significantly influence the therapy they would receive. With online therapy, couples are able to read a potential therapist’s biography, learn about their professional experiences, and read reviews from other patients. Finding the right therapist has never been as easy before as it currently is with online therapy.
There are many benefits to seeking couples therapy, whether in person or online. When it comes to online specifically, there can be lots of ways to make the process much more convenient and easy. This is great news because it gives couples many more options when it comes to saving their relationship through therapy.
Relationships are hard work! Just about every relationship will experience rough times, so why try to fight through them alone? A licensed professional therapist can go a very long way toward helping to repair or build a better understanding between two people. With the added convenience of online therapy, there is really no excuse not to seek help if needed.
Most couples will wait for six years after a problem arises before finally addressing it in the form of therapy. Putting off a problem doesn’t fix it and often only makes it worse. With online therapy, you can get to the bottom of the problem so much faster and better understand your partner from the comfort and safety of your own couch.