Couples therapy is different from individual therapy in that the patient in couple’s therapy is the relationship. Generally we bring into our relationships the communication style that we learned as a child. Sometimes the styles of communication that felt like they kept us safe as a child will not work as adults especially in our intimate relationships. The primary goal/desire for us in a relationship is the desire to be seen, understood and heard. When we do not feel seen, understood and heard in a relationship we can experience a feeling of separation between us and our partner. If this feeling of separation is not repaired we can end up feeling lonely and disconnected in the relationship. A key goal of the couple’s therapy is to help the couple to become more in tune with each other and empathetic about each other’s needs and challenges. It is also important to be able to repair the relationship when we inevitably fall out of tune with each other.
Here is a good article about couples therapy “Treatment…Couples therapy… 4 Major Myths About Couples Therapy” in May 2020 issues of Psychology Today. Here’s the link:
4 Major Myths About Couples Therapy:
- Divorce or a breakup must be on the horizon for anyone to engage in couples therapy.
- If we go to couples therapy, I’m just going to get blamed and verbally attacked. No Thanks.
- We shouldn’t have to go to couples therapy to mend our Relationship. We should be able to fix any problems on our own.
Behavioral science is learning so much about how the brain (which is different from the mind) and our emotional regulation system works. Much of what is happening in the relationship may be out of our awareness and causing problems that we can’t fix until we understand and identify the problem… Art McGrath, LCSW
(my comment not in the article)
- Why go to couples therapy? It won’t work.
Intensive Couple Therapy
Many couples cannot figure out how to carve out 1 or 2 hours a week for couple’s therapy or can’t find a couples therapist with time in the evening after work. I offer 3-4 hour intensive couples sessions on a Saturday. These intensive sessions can be an efficient method to quickly get momentum and traction in identifying and resolving the problems undermining the communication and connection in the relationship.