What Is Couples Therapy Like?
If you feel like you're struggling in your relationship, there is hope. Sometimes all you need is a little help. Couples therapy has been shown to restore 75% of the relationships involved. The most important thing is for you and your partner to want to make things work.
Going to couples therapy can also be overwhelming. Some people might feel like it's "giving up." But that's certainly not the case. It takes an enormous amount of strength to admit that you need help, and that you're willing to work. A couples therapist can give you the tools you need to communicate and support each other.
Sometimes it helps to know what to expect. You don't need to be intimidated.
Here are some of the things that you'll do in couples therapy.
1. You'll talk to your therapist about your relationship.
When you go to your first couples therapy session, your therapist will spend some time learning about your relationship. They'll learn about each individual partner, and then they'll discuss the relationship dynamics.
Not only does your therapist want to help the relationship, they also want to help you individually. It's important that each person has a chance to speak in the session.
There are a variety of questions that you might be asked. Your therapist might want to know about things like your careers and childhood. They might also ask relationship questions like how long you've been together and how you met.
The more that your therapist learns, the better they can understand your situation. They will get a sense of where the stresses in the relationship are, and then can help with solutions.
It's important to know that most of the couples therapy will be happening in later sessions. This is also true of meeting with therapists for individual counseling. Your first session is much more about getting to know you and developing a plan.
2. You'll address the root of your issues.
People choose couples therapy for a variety of reasons. Even couples that don't often fight can sometimes benefit from guidance. Common reasons that people seek therapy include:
- One or both partners is unhappy and feels unsupported.
- You are having the same argument again and again without resolving it.
- You have both grown apart, and you don't know how to address the problems.
- You're struggling with physical intimacy.
Most couples go to therapy with one or two concrete problems in mind. Your therapist's job is then to unravel the complexity of the issue. They can get to the heart of the problem so that you can see lasting, satisfactory change.
Oftentimes, your therapist will find that there are ongoing themes in multiple different problems. By addressing the root cause, you heal multiple areas of the relationship.
3. You'll develop specific goals.
Whether you're doing individual or couples therapy, specific goals are a huge component. Once your therapist has learned about you and your problems, they will work with you on concrete goals.
Some of your goals might be broad. You might want to feel the same spark with your partner that you used to. You might want more support around the house. You might want more quality time spent together.
Then you'll have smaller goals that support the broad goal. In couples therapy sessions, you'll identify specific steps that you can take to solve your issues.
There are also times in which you'll discover that you do want to split from your partner. Couples therapy can still help here. By working with your therapist, you and your partner can split amicably, supporting each other on the way. That's especially important if you have kids, or if you don't want your mutual friends to have to "choose sides."
Another important note is that your goals might shift as therapy goes on. You might find yourself reevaluating your initial goal. Once you reach your initial goal, you might have other things that you want to work on.
You'll also discuss your timeline with your therapist. This is the number of sessions that your therapist believes it will take to reach your goal. Usually, your therapist won't create a concrete timeline until you've had a few sessions. That way, they have a better sense of exactly how your dynamics work and what you and your partner need.
As the sessions continue, you'll learn skills. These will cover things like:
- Emotional support
- Stress management
At Greene Psychology Group, our specialized therapists offer couples therapy. Our goal is to help strengthen your relationship and make your household happier. We serve clients in the Raleigh area on both an individual and family basis. You can call today to schedule an appointment.