The American Psychological Association defines evidence-based therapy as, “Evidence-based practice is the integration of the best available research with clinical expertise in the context of patient characteristics, culture, and preferences.” Any kind of treatment is subjective until it’s been through rigorous testing to demonstrate that it works.
The scientific method uses real-world testing on new ideas. Therapies that have been backed up by scientific evidence have proven to be effective. Therapists are encouraged to use evidence-based treatments because they’re safe, and most people will find improvement from them.
Types Of Evidence-Based Therapies For Couples Counseling
When trouble is brewing in a relationship, couples can find help in couples therapy. In many cases, each partner has some things they need to work on within themselves in addition to working on issues that are tough to navigate as a couple.
There’s no right or wrong couples therapy. The only right couples therapy is the one that brings them closer and helps them work through their differences in a mutually respectful and loving manner. The following are four evidence-based couples therapy approaches.
One of the most popular couples counseling methods is the Gottman Method. It was designed, developed, and researched by Dr. John M. Gottman and his wife, psychologist, Julie Gottman. John Gottman is a long-time researcher who spent 40 years researching how to improve relationships for couples. In particular, Dr. John Gottman has researched the predictors of divorce to assist him in counseling couples in the characteristics that are necessary to maintain a happy, loving relationship with their spouse or partner.
The Gottman Method consists of nine components of a program called the Sound Relationship House. The therapeutic process entails each partner making a mental map of each other’s world and learning how to break through gridlock.
The Gottmans determined that negative emotions, like being defensive and contemptuous, are more likely to hurt relationships than positive emotions can overcome to improve couples' relationships. The structure of the Gottman Method helps couples develop understanding and skills so that partners can turn towards each other when one of them is hurting rather than turn away. The process helps couples strengthen their fondness and admiration for each other, manage conflicts, and explore each other’s dreams together.
Narrative therapy is a type of counseling that helps people isolate their problems from themselves. By giving issues a bit of distance, it’s easier for couples to see other ways that the issue is affecting them. The issue may be them in some way, and it may even be helping them.
In being able to see the issue from various new perspectives, couples become motivated to make changes in their thoughts and behavior, so they can reframe their life story in a way that reflects who they are as people and their life’s purpose. Narrative therapy gives couples a chance to rewrite the narrative of their lives while keeping problems separate.
Emotionally Focused Therapy
Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) focuses on the bonding quality of adult relationships. This therapy entails exploring patterns in the relationship and taking steps to create a closer bond and increase trust. EFT is a short-term, evidence-based therapy that helps couples' relationships to become stronger and healthier.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic method that helps couples communicate better, improve intimacy, develop rewarding relationship behaviors, and explore the negative and harmful dynamics that hurt the relationship. Research has shown that cognitive behavioral couples therapy is effective in providing a statistically-relevant improvement over multiple sessions.
Therapy that focuses on a combination of making changes and acceptance of the other person helps couples navigate conflict and resolve their differences effectively is even more effective than CBT therapy on its own.
Other Types Of Couples Therapy
It’s important to consider that part of evidence-based treatment assumes that couples will make informed decisions about the status of their relationship and what they need to improve. Cutting-edge therapies that are still in the research phase of science may be helpful to couples who are open to giving them a try.
Following are a few non-evidence-based couples therapy treatments that are showing promise.
Having faith in a higher power sometimes provides common ground for couples who are going through difficult times in the relationship. Religious-based counseling focuses on improving relationships using the perspective of a couple’s chosen faith as a basis for their actions and behaviors.
Couples who lack faith in traditional psychotherapy may be more inclined to try imago therapy, which looks at each person’s weaknesses and how they choose people who have many of the same weaknesses. Some couples aren’t up for discussing their feelings out of fear of being criticized or uncomfortable discussing difficult topics.
Imago therapy may be instrumental in helping couples assess their relationship dynamics rather than focusing on individual behavior. For married couples, imago marriage counseling might help deepen your bond with your spouse. Therapists use conversations between partners as a basis for helping them understand each other’s needs rather than striving for a particular outcome.
Most marriage therapists are trained in an individual model of therapy where the happiness of each individual supersedes the happiness of the couple. The benefits of this type of therapy are that when it works, it works by resolving problems within each individual, and it tends to work in a fairly quick time frame.
This type of therapy doesn’t come without risks. One risk is that each partner may give up rather than be willing to do the necessary individual work that is needed to move the relationship forward. Another risk is that individual work comes at the expense of the work that needs to be done on the couple’s relationship and the rest of the family.
Customized Couples Therapy
Many types of couples counseling are fixed programs with a specific structure and timeframe that ranges from a weekend to several weeks. These types of programs are helpful for people with healthy or marginal relationships; however, they don’t always work well for couples who are working through complex problems and harsh feelings. Some couples will only realize success when they commit to long-term counseling that helps them make gradual and lasting changes to themselves and their relationship.
Online Therapy For Couples
If you’re ready to start tackling the issues that brought you to consider couples counseling, why not reach out to Regain and ask to be matched with a couples counselor who can get your relationship back on track? To find success with couples counseling, it’s important to select a counselor that you both feel comfortable with. It’s also important for both parties to commit to working on their issues.
Online therapy may be a good option for couples who want to seek treatment but have unusual schedules or other barriers that make traditional therapy difficult or impossible. Not only that, but online therapy is just as effective as in-person therapy, meaning that choosing this option doesn’t cost you any quality in terms of your treatment.
“Sessions with Natalie are very insightful and give practical advice on implementing new habits and changes. Be prepared to engage and be challenged to think differently. I know that my partner and I can already see improvements in our relationship and feel more positive about working through our issues together.”
“Austa has been wonderful thus far. She has helped my partner and I during an unimaginably difficult time... She has also guided us in communicating effectively and setting appropriate boundaries in our relationship. I was hesitant to pursue counseling at the beginning, but I truly believe that it is making a difference in our relationship. Austa is easy to talk to and she is a great listener. I would wholeheartedly recommend her as a counselor.”
Couples counseling takes time and work. It will be painful at times but there are approaches or types of couple counseling or couples therapy that may be quite beneficial and vital if you want to build or repair your relationship. Remember that just as a physical injury takes time to heal and there is a period of pain before healing takes place, emotional hurt will be painful in the beginning and will heal over time.
What is meant by evidence-based treatment?
What are the 5 steps of evidence-based practice?
What are evidence-based practices in psychology?
What is evidence-based practice in mental health?
What are examples of evidence-based practices?
What are the 3 components of evidence-based practice?
- Research (evidence)
- Patient values or preference
- Clinical knowledge or expertise
What are the 7 steps of evidence-based practice?
What are the disadvantages of evidence-based practice?
What is the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy?
- Disarm verbal communication that causes conflict through emotional-based intervention.
- Increase intimacy in the marriage to increase relationship satisfaction.
- Develop and grow fondness and admiration in the marriage.
- Decrease relationship distress by introducing new tools for managing conflict.
- Increase the problem-solving capabilities of both partners in the marriage.
- Grow respect and affection within the marriage.
- Remove the barriers that often lead to a stagnant marriage.
- Create and grow more empathy and understanding in the relationship.
- Resolve conflicts in a way that both people feel safe and heard.
- Building love maps: This refers to a deep and intricate knowledge of your partner’s psychological world. It includes their past, their hopes and dreams, and even their fears and worries. This can also help your partner feel safe around you, psychologically. Being able to build your partner’s love map is a way to develop more empathy and intimacy in the marriage.
- fondness and admiration: This means focusing on the amount of respect and affection that can be found in the relationship. The goal here is to use marriage and family therapy to strengthen and increase the affection and respect levels in your marriage. It’s also a great way to work past attachment injuries and other problems with adult attachment.
- Turn towards instead of away: This refers to stating your needs openly and honestly, and responding to shows of affection from your partner. It also encompasses responding to the bids for affection that your partner makes. The idea is that these small moments of affection in your day-to-day lives are crucial to building a healthy family psychology and overcoming attachment injuries.
- The positive perspective: This means that couples should keep a positive outlook as they go through problem-solving and conflict management together. This is something that can be improved through emotionally focused couples therapy.
- Manage conflict: This element refers to confronting the conflict that is bound to come up in your relationship, especially during marriage and family therapy. However, with help from couple’s therapists, married couples can establish good family systems to manage and mitigate the conflict in the marriage that can spring up from attachment injuries or just daily life.
- Make life dreams come true: This means that, through marriage and family therapy, the couple can create a space in the marriage where both partners can talk openly and honestly about their values, convictions, beliefs, and hopes for the future. This safe space is key to achieving the and goals of both partners in the marriage, and it gives huge support for each individual to reach their full potential, as well.
- Create meaning: This means that it’s very important for you and your partner to have a way to talk about the marriage with each other. This could mean setting up and growing a series of metaphors for your marriage, or relying on narratives, visions, and myths to communicate hard-to-express ideas about the marriage.
- Trust: This is what happens when you’re fully confident that your partner is acting to benefit you, and that you’re acting to benefit your partner. This element of the Gottman Method couples therapy is important because it signals a key shift in perspective and decision making. It also gives a sense of to the marriage.
- Commitment: This refers to the belief that your journey with your partner really will last for a lifetime. It also encompasses cherishing and valuing the positive aspects of the marriage while also being committed to improving the rough patches in the marriage, usually through couple and family therapy when it’s needed.
Is the Gottman method effective?
Is CBT an evidence-based treatment?
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