What is the purpose of couples therapy?
The purpose of couples therapy is to improve the quality of the relationship between two people by helping the couple learn how to identify and resolve conflicts in a productive manner.
Couples counseling addresses issues such as communication, honesty, shared responsibilities, commitment, and mutual support.
Many types of relationships benefit from couples counseling including married couples, couples preparing for marriage, couples who are living together, dating couples, separated couples, and couples preparing for a divorce. Both same and opposite sex couples benefit from couples counseling.
The best outcome is when couples learn effective communication and problem-solving skills so they can resolve issues on their own in the future, rather than going into counseling expecting the therapist is going to fix the relationship for them.
What are some reasons people go for couples therapy?
Couples often decide to start couples therapy when the relationship suffers from communication problems, sexual difficulties, conflicts about child rearing, problems with blended families, financial problems (excessive spending or inadequate resources), substance abuse, infidelity and divorce issues. In some cases, the relationship is generally working well, but the couple would like to regain the intimacy that was present earlier in the relationship.
What if my partner refuses to go to therapy with me?
If your partner refuses to join you, you can start individual therapy on your own to see what can be done to improve the relationship. Your partner may be willing to try individual therapy first as well, and then the two of you could then work together as a couple in therapy. In this case, different therapists are considered best to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest or favoritism on the part of the current therapist.
Typically, one person in a relationship is more motivated to get help than the other person is. As long as the more reluctant person is willing to make a sincere effort in counseling, progress can be made. If someone attends couples counseling just because their partner
made them go and does not fully participate, not much is likely to change.
How long does couples therapy last?
Couples therapy is often short term, depending on the issues involved. If the relationship has greatly deteriorated, a longer course of treatment may be needed.
In some cases, couples counseling does not result in a continued relationship. This may happen when couples discover that irreconcilable differences are present and that it is best to end the relationship.