Couples Therapy: How To Choose The Right Counselor
Recognizing the need for couples therapy and getting both partners to agree can be a challenge, but how do you choose the right counselor once you do? Couples therapy can provide many benefits for your relationship. Whether you're looking for ways to reinforce your emotional connection or seeking methods to help you overcome issues like trust or communication, help is available. Read on to explore how couples therapy can help you build a strong, healthy relationship with your partner and how to choose the right therapist for your treatments.
What Is Couples Therapy?
According to researchers at the National Library of Medicine, couples therapy is a branch of psychotherapy (talk therapy) that focuses on finding solutions to issues partners face in romantic relationships. Whether you and your significant other struggle to communicate, resolve conflicts, or connect emotionally, couples therapy can help you find ways to navigate the problems together.
Situations Couples Therapy Can Help
- There’s no effective communication between partners, and most conversations devolve into arguments, antagonism, or hostile behavior.
- One or both partners has become indifferent to the relationship or their significant other’s feelings and needs.
- You or your partner are keeping secrets from each other or lying to cover up behavior you don’t want to be revealed.
- The relationship lacks physical intimacy because you don't have sex, or your only connection is sexual.
- Your emotional intimacy and closeness had faded.
- You’re having trouble connecting after having a child or grown children moving out on their own.
- Infidelity has damaged your trust and hurt you or your partner.
- You frequently have the same arguments over and over with no resolution
- One partner tries to exert abusive control over the other physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, or in any other form.
How Does Couples Therapy Work?
Generally, couples counseling lasts 12 to 20 sessions, often weekly or bi-weekly. However, each relationship is different, and your therapist will determine how many sessions are required to address your issues.
Assessment Of Both Partners
Your couples therapist will likely ask both of you to complete questionnaires to help gauge your emotional states and level of commitment to the relationship. This information lets your therapist determine the best approach to your problem areas.
Identify Conflict And Compatibility Areas
Couples therapy can help you identify the areas causing conflict and tension in your relationship, but it can also highlight what you and your partner are doing right, helping you build on those skills.
Reestablish Open, Honest Communication
Studies show that communication is often the heart of a healthy, thriving relationship, and a lack of communication is one of the primary reasons relationships fail. Couples therapy can help you reestablish communication channels with your partner so you can both express your needs and emotions to one another.
Tips To Make Couples Therapy More Successful
As with any psychotherapy treatment, couples counseling requires consistent effort from both partners to succeed. While your therapist provides support and guidance throughout the process, it’s up to the two of you to do the emotional work necessary to make meaningful changes.
Approach Treatment With An Open Mind
Viewing your partner as the enemy rather than an ally could indicate significant problems in the relationship. Try going into couples therapy with an open mind, a willingness to compromise, and expecting it to work.
Allow Yourself To Be Emotionally Vulnerable
Discussing your feelings honestly would be extremely challenging without making yourself emotionally vulnerable. However, that vulnerability will make your treatments more successful and help you find ways to connect with your partner.
Share Your Honest Feelings
Honesty is a crucial aspect of couples therapy. Your treatments should create a safe, understanding environment where you can both express your thoughts and feelings without judgment so you can brainstorm solutions together.
Make An Effort To Fix Your Relationship
It takes two to start a relationship, and it often takes both of you to fix it when things get complicated. Couples therapy works best when both partners make a consistent effort throughout treatment, reliably doing their part to improve the relationship. If only one partner is trying, it could indicate deeper issues that need to be addressed or may mean the relationship is beyond saving if indifference is the best they can muster.
Work On Solutions Together
Learning practical conflict-resolution skills is one of the more valuable aspects of couples therapy because you can use those techniques repeatedly as you encounter disputes and arguments in your relationship. Your therapist can help you both reshape your ideas of approaching problems as a united team rather than separately or at odds with one another.
“Trying to solve unsolvable problems is counterproductive, and no couple will ever completely eliminate them. However, discussing them is constructive and provides a positive opportunity for understanding and growth.” — The Gottman Institute
Use The Skills You Learn In Everyday Life
Once you learn effective coping and communication strategies to improve your relationship—use them! The more you use the skills your therapist teaches you, the more instinctual they become, making it easier to recognize and understand your emotions and your partner’s feelings, know how to react appropriately, and work through issues with your partner by your side.
How To Choose The Right Couples Counselor
With so many options available locally and through teletherapy platforms, choosing the right couples counselor to fit your needs and situation can be challenging. Try these tips if you need a therapist to help your relationship.
Choose Whether You Want Online Or In-Person Therapy
First, decide whether you want online or face-to-face treatment. Both provide comparable results. If you want the traditional setup, start with a search for "couples therapists near me” or “online couples therapy platforms” if you’re willing to try the virtual option. Then, schedule an appointment that works for you and your partner.
Ask About Therapeutic Approach And Experience
When choosing a couples therapist, it can help to ask questions about their experience and how they approach relationship therapy. Finding a provider who specializes in the treatment you seek can lead to more positive experiences.
Questions You May Want To Ask
- How would you describe a successful relationship?
- Have you worked with couples experiencing similar issues before?
- What therapeutic approaches do you use?
- What type of therapeutic training and certifications do you have?
- Can you describe what couples therapy with you looks like?
- How much of your practice involves couples therapy?
- What do you think are the most crucial elements of healthy relationships?
- After hearing about our concerns, what impressions can you share about how you’d approach our treatment?
Find A Provider Who Makes You Both Feel Comfortable
It is essential that both of you feel comfortable with your therapist and for treatment to create the type of environment that allows you both to feel safe sharing and reacting to feelings. A trusting, honest relationship with your therapist is necessary for effective treatment. Don’t settle for working with someone who isn't a good match for one or both of you because you think there aren’t options.
Couples Therapy Approaches
The Gottman Method
Enhance intimacy, build verbal communication, and increase emotional intimacy and conflict resolution in the relationship.
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy
Improve the attachment and emotional bonds in your relationship by expressing authentic feelings.
Pinpoint and focus on the sources of conflict and tension in the relationship.
Resolve problems in your sex life and communicate how to meet your needs.
Psychodynamic Couples Therapy
Identify and address underlying issues affecting how you relate to each other.
How Couples Therapy Can Strengthen Your Relationship
Couples therapy can help couples repair damaged relationships and feel closer together. If you’ve hit a rough patch in your emotional or physical bond with your significant other, consider working with a licensed couples therapist through a virtual relationship therapy platform like Regain. Couples therapy can teach practical coping and communication skills to manage your emotions and express your feelings to your partner. Your therapist can also help develop conflict resolution strategies to work through problems together.
Studies show that online and in-person couples therapy offer similar results. However, many patients reported that virtual treatments are less expensive and generally involve shorter wait times to speak with a therapist. Teletherapy platforms provide access to a comprehensive selection of qualified mental healthcare specialists, and connecting with another provider is simple if your first match isn’t a good fit.
Couples therapy can help reduce symptoms associated with stress, anxiety, and depression while increasing relationship satisfaction. The information in this article offers insight into choosing the right couples therapist and how attending therapy with your partner can help strengthen your relationship.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Do I Choose A Couples Counselor?
A couple of factors may go into deciding who to go to for couples counseling or couples therapy. First, you want to make sure that the couples therapist or counselor you’re seeing is licensed. Next, if you’re looking for any specific traits in a couples therapist, you’ll want to see who has those traits. For example, if you’re looking for a couples therapist who specializes in a specific form of couples therapy or couples counseling, such as emotionally focused therapy (EFT), you’d want to seek someone out with that specialty. Then, you’ll want to look into the cost. How much does it cost to see this couples therapist or couples counselor? Every couples therapist or counselor offers different rates and accepts different payment methods (insurance, an employee assistance program, sliding scale rates, etc.), so this is considered. All of the couples therapists at ReGain are licensed, and online therapy is generally less expensive than traditional in-person couples therapy is in the absence of insurance. Consider online therapy as an easy way to get paired with a couples therapist who meets your needs.
Do Unmarried Couples Go To Counseling?
Absolutely. Just like married couples, unmarried couples go to couples therapy or counseling for a variety of reasons. Therapy helps people work through any concerns that arise in a relationship, whether small or large. Couples might seek marriage and family therapy, couples counseling, or couples therapy for concerns such as infidelity, sex or intimacy, and communication issues. Additionally, therapy helps couples with parenting, increasing affection, learning to better support a partner, or preparing for marriage. Seeing a provider such as a licensed marriage and family therapist for couples counseling or couples therapy doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re unhappy. However, couples counseling can help if you are.
What Is The Difference Between Marriage Counseling And Couples Therapy?
Typically, if someone says “marriage counseling,” they refer to relationship therapy or counseling for a married couple. If someone says “couples therapy,” they may be referring to relationship therapy or counseling for a couple of any status, whether they’re married or not. There are several routes you can take to find a couples counselor or therapist. To find a couples counselor or therapist, you can search the web for phrases such as, “licensed marriage and family therapist couples counseling near me,” “marriage and family therapy couples therapy near me,” “licensed marriage and family therapist couples therapists near me,” use an online directory or sign up for an online therapy website such as ReGain to get started. ReGain offers both individual therapy and couples therapy or couples counseling, so whether you need to find a therapist for individual therapy or relationship therapy, you can get started with ReGain.
What Should I Ask A Couples Therapist?
The questions you ask a couples therapist depend on what you’re there for and what stage of seeing them you’re in. If you’re currently hoping to find a therapist or find a couples counselor and are surveying your options, you might ask the following questions:
- Where did you go to school?
- What are your specialties? (emotionally focused therapy, the Gottman method, etc.)
- What concerns do you typically help couples with?
- How much does it cost to see you per session?
- Do you take insurance?
If you’re currently seeing a provider, whether it’s for individual therapy, marriage and family therapy, couples counseling, or couples therapy, the questions you ask will be more catered to your situation. For example, if you find a couples counselor or are seeing a couples therapist for frequent arguments, you might ask, “how can we communicate better and work through arguments more effectively?”
What Is The Gottman Method?
The Gottman Method is a form of couples therapy or couples counseling practiced by some couples therapists. To find a couples counselor or find a therapist who utilizes the Gottman method, you can search the web for terms such as “find a couples counselor Gottman method couples counseling,” “couples therapists Gottman method,” or “Gottman method couples therapists near me.” You can also use an online directory or use an online therapy platform.
How do I find a local couples therapist?
What kind of therapist is best for couples?
How do you interview a marriage counselor?
Can a therapist see a couple individually?
What techniques do marriage counselors use?
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