What is Couples Therapy?
Couples therapy (or “couples counseling,” “marriage therapy,” “marital counseling”) helps couples in all types of intimate relationships improve their relationships by identifying and resolving conflicts, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status. Couples therapy helps you learn to make thoughtful decisions to build, rebuild, and strengthen your relationship or, if they choose, to go their separate ways. It is often a short-term process in which both partners participate. However, treatment varies on a case-by-case basis.
Often, couples seek counseling to improve a troubled relationship. Common reasons that people seek assistance include:
- Difficulty communicating
- Emotional distance
- Conflict resolution
- Sexual difficulties
- Life transitions
- Seeking a relationship “tune up”
- Substance Abuse
- Conflict related to raising children or combining families
- Relationship dissatisfaction
- Divorce / Break up / Separation
While couples counseling can be helpful in cases of domestic abuse, if violence has reached a point that you’re afraid for your safety, it may be insufficient to ensure your immediate safety. please contact an emergency line:
- OASIS (Emergency: (828) 262-5035 or page via the Sheriff’s Office: (828) 264-3761)
- Hospitality House (828) 264-1237
- Daymark Recovery Services 24 hour crisis line: (866) 275-9552, or
- Your local police department (Boone PD: (828) 268-6900)
Therapy is also regularly pursued as a way to improve partners’ understanding of one another and further strengthen their relationship. Some couples choose to engage in couples therapy prior to getting married as a way to help build a strong foundation on which to build their life together. Since couples therapy helps couples learn to discuss differences rationally, build problem-solving skills, and improve communication, couples usually find that engaging in therapy leads to a stronger relationship with their partner.
When pursuing couples counseling, it’s important to be aware that:
- It can often be a difficult process. You might experience sessions in which you and your partner argue or yell, or might spend long stretches sitting in stony silence, angry over a particularly troublesome issue. These are normal moments in the process. Your therapist is with you during these moments, helping you sit with, cope with, and learn from these emotions.
- You can go to couples therapy alone. You can still attend sessions if your partner refuses to attend. The process of healing a relationship is more difficult without bother partners, but you can still learn a great deal about yourself, your behavior, and your emotions in the context of your relationship.
- Couples therapy is often time-limited. Your individual histories and history as a couple, your unique concerns, dedication to the process, and willingness to apply what you learn are among the many variables that affect the length of time you may spend in couples therapy. Some couples only spend a few sessions in therapy, while others attend for several months. Your course of treatment will be unique to you. Sometimes in the course of treatment, couples decide that it’s best to end the relationship after discovering truly irreconcilable differences. Couples therapy can then help facilitate a smooth transition.
- You may be assigned homework. You might be asked to actively practice skills you’ve learned in session, such as using communication techniques a little bit each day between sessions. This helps improve your understanding of and ability to utilize these skills, increasing their effectiveness.
- Couples therapy alone may be insufficient. If you or your partner is struggling with a mental illness, substance abuse, or other issues, one or both of you may be referred for individual treatment with another provider.
Deciding to seek couples therapy can be difficult. If what you’re doing isn’t working, however, perhaps it’s time to find a new perspective on your problems. It is more effective to take active steps to improve your relationship than to ignore your problems. New Perspectives Counseling and Consulting is here to help you through your difficulties, helping you and your partner find greater satisfaction in your lives.