Couple therapy

What is couple therapy

Although the practice of couple therapy may vary depending on the theoretical orientation of the therapist, it tends to involve the following general elements:

  • A focus on a specific problem (e.g. sexual difficulties , different types of addiction , intimacy, jealousy and other insecurities).
  • Therapist’s active participation in dealing with the relationship itself, rather than each individual separately.
  • Solution-focused and change-oriented interventions at different stages of the therapeutic process.
  • A clear definition of the objectives of the treatment.

When to undertake this therapy

Often couple therapy helps people involved in a relationship to understand it better, cope with conflicts and increase the sense of satisfaction using a variety of therapeutic interventions.

Couple therapy may focus, if necessary, on crisis intervention.

Therapy can focus on a current problem, prevent problems from escalating, or simply provide a “check-up” for a couple experiencing a period of transition or increased stress.

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What to expect from couple therapy

Not sure what to expect in each couple therapy session?

Usually, the first therapy session begins with some standard questions regarding the history of the relationship and families of origin, the values and cultural backgrounds of each partner and the shared ones.

The couple therapist will then assist the couple in identifying the problem that will be at the center of the treatment, establishing treatment goals and planning a treatment facility.

During the treatment, the therapist will help the couple understand the relationship dynamics that create the problem and will guide both partners to understand their roles in dysfunctional interactions.

This greater understanding about relationship problems and their easing will help them change the way they perceive relationship and their partner.

While gaining knowledge is important, another crucial aspect of couple therapy is about actually changing behaviors.

Many couples come out of therapy with a greater understanding of their relationship patterns and with the skills necessary to effectively communicate and solve problems with their partners.

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Why it is important to seek couple therapy to prevent

Sometimes couples come to therapy when maladaptive relationship patterns have already taken root, the emotional bond between the partners has been severely weakened, and there is a high level of resentment due to past unresolved conflicts.

Some couples may see couple therapy as a “last chance” before making the decision to end the relationship.

Others see it as a way to force their partner to change because they are “the problem”.

A very common misconception is that the “perfect” couple does not have conflicts.

Conflicts are, instead, part of a couple’s life: thanks to therapy it is possible to learn to recognize, deal with and overcome them in a functional way.

As in many aspects of one’s mental and relational health, prevention is also very useful and constructive in intimate relationships.

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Who should consider this kind of therapy

Couple therapy is useful for any type of relationship, including:

  • Any sexual orientation;
  • Inter-ethnic and inter-religious couples;
  • Teenagers or young adults;
  • Relationships with age difference;
  • Relationships at any stage, including first dates, engagements, marriages, or breakups / divorces.