Can couples therapy help save your relationship? Love and marriage often go hand in hand, but have you ever considered the possibility of couples therapy? According to a recent survey conducted by MidAmerica Nazarene University, approximately 49% of married couples find themselves seeking marriage counseling at some point during their marital journey. Jennifer Surch, a dedicated couples therapist, emphasizes the potential benefits of couples therapy: "Couples therapy may be highly advantageous for most couples, as not many individuals have been equipped with the essential tools required to nurture long-lasting relationships." Joel Block, Ph.D., a renowned psychologist and author of "The 15-Minute Relationship Fix," underscores the significance of this form of intervention: "While working on your relationship is important, it's crucial for couples facing challenges to consider therapy early on. Neglecting these issues over time can exacerbate the situation, often leading to unfavorable outcomes." Surprisingly, research indicates that couples therapy yields positive results for approximately 70% of those who seek treatment. For many couples, the decision to seek professional guidance can mark the difference between enduring a lasting partnership and becoming another statistic in the divorce rate.
Now, let's delve into what precisely constitutes marriage counseling and how it operates.
Does Couple's Therapy Really Works?
Marriage counseling or Couple's therapy is a specialized form of therapy where a couple jointly seeks assistance, typically to address relationship challenges. It stands apart from other therapeutic approaches because it involves both spouses participating in each session. This particular form of therapy is often considered one of the most challenging by therapists, as noted by Block, especially when dealing with couples who are grappling with anger, hurt, and perceive the therapy as an opportunity to prove their partner wrong. Block explains that some couples approach the process as if it were a courtroom, with the therapist serving as a judge who will hopefully rectify their partner's actions. However, it's important to emphasize that the role of a marriage therapist is not that of a judge. At its core, marriage counseling aims to assist couples in comprehending and resolving conflicts to enhance their relationship. The primary objective is to equip couples with the tools needed to communicate more compassionately and fearlessly, enabling them to navigate problems and conflicts in a healthy and constructive manner. It's crucial to note that you don't have to be in a crisis within your relationship to seek counselling. In fact, seeking help before your marriage reaches a breaking point can often yield more favorable outcomes.
Wondering if you and your partner could benefit from Couples therapy sessions?
Jennifer Surch, a seasoned professional in the field, offers valuable insights. Marriage counseling or Couple's therapy is a viable option for any couple who has attempted to resolve their relationship issues independently but hasn't seen significant progress. If you're uncertain whether you fit this category, here are some indicators to consider:
Poor Communication and Constant Disagreements: If you find it challenging to communicate effectively and frequently engage in arguments or bickering, couples therapy can provide guidance.
Ineffective Problem-Solving: Struggling to solve problems together or experiencing an imbalance in decision-making can be signs that professional intervention is needed.
Trust Issues: If trust has eroded within your relationship, seeking help from a couples therapist can aid in rebuilding it.
Emotional and Physical Disconnect: If you sense a lack of emotional or physical connection with your partner, couples therapy can help reestablish intimacy.
Sexual Issues: Whether you're facing sexual challenges or have stopped being intimate altogether, couples therapy can address these concerns.
Lifestyle and Life-Goal Disagreements: If you're grappling with disagreements related to lifestyle choices or life goals, such as finances, children, or where to live, a couples therapist can facilitate productive discussions.
Infidelity: Coping with the aftermath of infidelity by one or both partners is a complex issue that can benefit from the support of a skilled couples therapist.
More Difficult Days Than Joyful Ones: If you're experiencing a disproportionate amount of challenging days in your relationship compared to peaceful and joyful ones, couples therapy can help you navigate these difficulties.
Jennifer Surch's expertise in Couples therapy can assist you and your partner in addressing these issues and working toward a healthier, more fulfilling relationship.
Dealing with a partner who is not open to couples therapy can be challenging, but there are several steps you can consider:
Open Communication: Begin by having an open and honest conversation with your partner about your desire to attend couples therapy. Express your concerns, feelings, and reasons for wanting to seek professional help. Be empathetic and understanding of their perspective as well.
Educate Them: Provide information about the benefits of couples therapy and how it can help improve your relationship. Share success stories or research findings that highlight the positive outcomes of therapy.
Seek Individual Therapy: If your partner is resistant to couples therapy, consider starting individual therapy for yourself. This can help you address your own issues, gain insights, and develop healthier ways to cope with the relationship challenges. Sometimes, personal growth can inspire positive changes in the relationship.
Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries and communicate your needs within the relationship. Let your partner know what you are willing to accept and what you are not. Healthy boundaries can encourage a partner to consider therapy as a means of resolving conflicts.
Give It Time: Sometimes, individuals may need time to come around to the idea of couples therapy. Be patient and allow your partner space to process their feelings and thoughts about it.
Consult a Relationship Expert: Seek advice from a relationship expert or therapist individually if your partner remains resistant. They can provide guidance on how to navigate the situation and may offer suggestions for how to approach your partner more effectively.
Offer a Trial Period: Suggest trying a limited number of couples therapy sessions as a trial period. Assure your partner that you can both reevaluate the situation after a few sessions and decide whether to continue or not.
Choose the Right Therapist: If your partner does agree to therapy, make sure to select a therapist together who both of you feel comfortable with. A good therapist can create a safe and non-judgmental environment that encourages openness and healing.
Ultimately, while it can be challenging if your partner is not initially open to couples therapy, there are ways to approach the situation with sensitivity and persistence. The goal is to work together to improve the relationship and address any underlying issues.
Jennifer Surch, a seasoned professional offering Couples therapy sessions, sheds light on what occurs during a Couple's counselling session. Within this therapeutic setting, couples collaborate with their therapist to identify and address the issues that require acknowledgment and resolution. In the context of these sessions, couples have the opportunity to develop essential skills and gain valuable insights, as outlined by Bronstein:
Effective Communication: Couples learn more effective ways to communicate with each other, enhancing their ability to express thoughts, feelings, and concerns openly and constructively.
Vulnerability and Honesty: They discover how to be vulnerable and truthful with each other, fostering trust and intimacy within the relationship.
Emotional Regulation: Couples acquire strategies for managing their anger and emotional responses when faced with challenging situations, enabling them to navigate conflicts with greater composure.
Shared Purpose: Exploring the reasons behind their choice to be married and identifying their shared purpose within the marriage can help couples reconnect on a deeper level.
Romantic Rekindling: Couples have the opportunity to revive the romance in their relationship, reigniting the emotional connection and passion.
Gratitude and Acceptance: They learn to appreciate and accept each other as they are, moving away from judgment and a desire to change one another.
As Jennifer Surch emphasizes, "Whenever you have two willing individuals in a secure therapeutic space with a mental health professional, transformation and growth within the relationship are likely to occur. The success of counselling hinges on the commitment of the couple to take the process seriously and apply what they learn and discover during sessions in their daily lives between sessions."
"Marriage counseling proves effective when the couple actively applies the insights gained during sessions in their day-to-day interactions between sessions." say's Jennifer Surch