The Best Tools And Resources For Locating Couples Therapy In Your Area

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated April 26, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Researchers estimate that approximately a third of intact couples are distressed, but less than 15% of intact couples seek therapy. The journey through life together is seldom without its challenges, and sometimes it's necessary to seek professional guidance to navigate complex emotional landscapes. After all, even the most harmonious duets need a conductor.

Here, we aim to demystify the process of seeking couples therapy, ensuring that those who need support feel empowered to find it. We'll explore the types of couples therapy available, offer practical advice on identifying the right kind of therapy for you and your partner and provide a roadmap for effectively communicating your needs to your prospective therapist.

Are you looking for a couples therapist in your area?

You may feel overwhelmed by this journey but armed with the right information and resources, you'll be well-equipped to start a transformative chapter in your relationship. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness but rather of strength. When you embrace the opportunity to fortify your bond, grow together, and carve out a path that leads to mutual happiness, you can actively build a better future for your relationship.

Understanding couples therapy

Couples therapy is an effective method for maintaining and improving the quality of your romantic relationship. Whether you're facing a significant issue or just looking to deepen your connection, couples therapy can offer valuable insights and support.

As a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the unique dynamics between two people in a romantic relationship, couples therapy aims to identify conflict areas, improve communication, and foster a deeper understanding of each other's needs and desires.

A trained therapist can help couples navigate through challenges and develop healthier patterns of interaction, ultimately leading to more satisfying relationships. There are several approaches to couples therapy, each with its own set of techniques and philosophies.

Here are some of the most popular methods:

The Gottman method

Developed by Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, this evidence-based approach focuses on nine essential elements of a healthy relationship known as the "Sound Relationship House." These components include trust, commitment, and emotional connection.

The Gottman Method emphasizes building a strong foundation by addressing each aspect of the relationship and teaching couples specific tools for managing conflict and enhancing intimacy.

Emotionally focused therapy (EFT)

Created by Dr. Sue Johnson, EFT is based on attachment theory and helps couples understand and change their emotional responses to one another. The goal is to strengthen the emotional bond between partners by identifying and addressing unmet needs and negative interaction patterns.

EFT also encourages couples to express their feelings of emotional vulnerability and create new, healthier interactions that promote trust and intimacy.

Imago relationship therapy (IRT)

Developed by Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt, IRT is based on the theory that all relationships are basically an attempt to recreate what individuals experienced in childhood — for better or worse. IRT aims to help couples understand the unconscious dynamics that shape their interactions, create greater empathy and understanding, and discover new solutions to problems.

IRT also teaches communication skills such as active listening and validation so that partners can better express their needs and feelings. Through these techniques, couples can better understand how their pasts shape their present relationship.

Systems theory

Systems theory views relationships as a complex system requiring balance and equilibrium to thrive. It focuses on how two individuals interact and the impact of their interactions on one another.

This approach encourages couples to consider their relationship an entity that needs to be managed and maintained. Systems theory also explores each partner's roles in the system, such as decision-maker or nurturer, and how those roles can be adjusted to create a more harmonious partnership.

While many relationships experience ups and downs, some situations may warrant professional support. Couples therapy might be needed if you:

  • Experience frequent arguments or misunderstandings

  • Feel emotionally distant or disconnected from your partner

  • Struggle with trust issues or infidelity

  • Face major life transitions or stressors that impact your relationship

  • Desire to deepen your emotional connection and improve overall relationship satisfaction

Regardless of your specific challenges, couples therapy can provide a supportive and non-judgmental space to explore your concerns and work toward lasting change. By exploring various therapeutic approaches and recognizing when professional support may be needed, couples can take the first step toward a stronger and healthier partnership.

Identifying your needs

Before you search for a therapist, it's important to honestly assess your challenges and needs. For example, are you struggling with communication or intimacy? Do you need help making decisions together as a couple, or do you need individualized guidance? Are there certain techniques or philosophies that resonate more strongly with you?

Asking yourself these questions will help you narrow your search and determine which type of couples therapy might be most beneficial for you. You can also talk to your partner about the concerns you're both experiencing and decide together which approach might be best.

Your needs as an individual may also be an important factor to consider. For example, if you are experiencing anxiety, depression, or past trauma, these can all play a role in your relationship and should be addressed. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, individual therapy may be needed in addition to couples' work.

As a couple, your needs may change over time, so it's important to be open and honest about where you are in your relationship. Transparency will help you find a therapist to best meet your needs and provide support tailored to your specific circumstances.

Are you looking for a couples therapist in your area?

How to make the most of couples therapy

Once you've identified your challenges and needs, the next step is finding a therapist to help. Therapists come in all shapes and sizes, so it's important to research before deciding.

Here are some tips for finding the right therapist:

  • Check their credentials: Any potential therapist should be licensed and have adequate experience providing couples therapy. You can check the therapist's credentials through their professional website or read reviews from former clients.

  • Consider their specialties: Couples therapy includes different therapeutic techniques and philosophies, so it's important to find a therapist who specializes in the approach which you're most comfortable. For example, if you are looking for a psychodynamic or experiential approach, your therapist should have experience in these areas.

  • Gauge their availability: Your therapist's availability is another important factor. Are they able to provide appointments that fit within your schedule? Are you comfortable talking with them on the phone or via video chat? These are all relevant questions to ask yourself before selecting a therapist.

The right therapist for you should provide a safe and supportive space to discuss your relationship concerns and work toward meaningful change. However, if you believethat the therapist isn't a good fit, don't be afraid to move on and find another one.

To make the most of your therapy sessions, it's important to be prepared. While preparation may look different for each couple, you can take a few key steps to ensure that your sessions are productive and effective.

Setting realistic expectations and goals can help keep you both motivated and focused during the course of therapy. If you take time before each session to talk about what you would like to work on and agree on the session's goals, this can be a helpful way to stay focused.

It's also important to come into each session with an open mind and willingness to learn about yourself and your partner. While it can be difficult, actively listening and being aware of your thoughts and feelings is key for progress in therapy. When both partners are open to feedback and use it to grow, this can make a huge difference in the therapy outcome.

Finally, it's important to remember that therapy is not a "quick fix." Progress can take time, and it's important to be patient and consistent in your sessions. If you find that one session isn't as helpful or productive as you had hoped, don't give up — keep coming back and stay committed to the process.

Making the most of couples therapy involves a commitment from both partners. However, by preparing, staying open-minded, and putting in the effort needed to make progress, you may develop a stronger connection that can overcome the challenges you're facing.

Online therapy can provide a convenient and accessible way to access quality couples therapy, no matter where you are. An online therapist can provide the same level of care and expertise as an in-person therapist, with additional benefits such as flexibility and convenience. Your therapist can provide evidence-based techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help you and your partner overcome challenges.

Clinical research indicates CBT for couples has strong empirical support for resolving relationship problems. As a modality of online therapy, CBT can help you and your partner learn to communicate more effectively, understand each other's perspectives, and develop better problem-solving skills.


Embarking on a couples therapy journey with your partner can be a meaningful way to strengthen your relationship and address any underlying issues. Selecting the right therapist and preparing for each session can help set you and your partner up for success as you work towards a more fulfilling relationship.

Online therapy can be an effective way to access quality couples therapy. By harnessing the power of evidence-based techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy, both you and your partner can become better equipped to work through any challenges that come your way.

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