When relationships break down or there is a lack of communication, we always urge people to go to couples therapy. Talking it out with a third party present as a sort of mediator can prevent disagreements from creating a divide in your relationship.
So, what is couples therapy exactly? What issues can you address in this type of therapy? And can you go to couples therapy for other types of relationships? Let’s find out.
What Is Couples Therapy?
Couples therapy is a type of psychotherapy intended to help you and a partner improve your relationship. The purpose of couples therapy is to communicate openly with one another without judgment. The goal is to help rebuild and strengthen the relationship.
Couples therapy can help you work through all kinds of stressors that put a strain on your relationship. For instance, if one partner has an affair, if there are feelings of disconnection, or if one of you feels there is no spark, you can go to couples therapy.
Couples therapy also comes under the umbrella of marriage counseling, family counseling, and premarital counseling. It is a short-term solution with long-term skills to help you get your relationship back on track.
Common Issues Addressed in Couples Therapy
Couples may choose to go to therapy together for a number of reasons. Sometimes, it can help to attend to couples therapy even if there has not already been a significant breakdown in the relationship. After all, these breakdowns don’t happen overnight. There are usually early indicators.
Some of the most common issues addressed in couples therapy are infidelity, financial difficulties, substance abuse, conflict, major life changes, growing apart, divorce, or infidelity.
Can Couples Therapy Work for Other Types of Relationships?
Relationships of all kinds take work, so couples therapy can be helpful for relationships other than monogamous romantic ones. You will use a range of techniques to improve communication, solve conflicts, or learn coping mechanisms to deal with stressors.
Within couples therapy, you will get to know the other person better. You’ll learn how to understand and deal with not only your own feelings but the other person’s too. You will also identify your feelings and put them into words to communicate these thoughts to the other person.
In addition, you will explore your history to learn about your motivations, your desires, your fears, and shortcomings. You’ll then address any unresolved feelings or issues that could cause conflict in your relationship in the present day.
Couples therapy can also help you find solutions, resolve past issues, correct negative behaviors, and focus on more positive feelings and parts of your life and relationship. Finally, going to therapy can help you build your problem-solving skills, learn how to communicate more effectively, manage your stress and anger, and resolve conflict more efficiently.
While you can learn how to resolve conflict and communicate in couples therapy, which are essential skills in strengthening bonds, it may be more beneficial to go to other branches of counseling depending on the relationship. For instance, you may benefit more from going to family counseling if you are interested in working on a parent/child relationship.
It is important to note that you do not have to be married to go to couples counseling. While it is typically used for those in a romantic relationship, you can improve your relationship with a family member or even a business partner in couples counseling.