Like most things that are worthwhile, relationships take work. A lot of that work comes from overcoming conflicts and misunderstandings through stronger lines of communication.
Our licensed psychologists can help you enhance your relationship and overcome adversity. Relationships can become strained by broken trust, jealousy, arguments, and diminished emotional intimacy. When these problems come up, it's best to get help from a trained psychologist to make the relationship happier and healthier.
What Is Couples Therapy?
Couples therapy is a type of psychotherapy or talk therapy that helps people in a relationship see and deal with problems and conflicts.
The goal of couples counseling is to create a safe space where couples can gain new perspectives. Our counselors serve as facilitators who remain unbiased throughout this process. We help guide partners through these discussions, making the process easier to navigate.
No matter what your goals are for couples or marriage counseling in Austin, our skilled therapists can provide you with an open forum to address ongoing issues without judgment.
Issues Addressed In Couples Counseling
Couples counseling can help with almost any problem that might come up in a relationship, such as:
- Emotional distance
- LGBTQ-specific problems
- Significant life changes
- Separation anxiety
- Intimacy problems
Every couple is different, and between sessions, couples’ dynamics are always changing. Couples therapists are able to help couples through every step of treatment and give them a safe place to talk about any problem.
Misconceptions About Couples Counseling
The stigma surrounding mental health and therapy has begun to dwindle as we progress into the 21st century. However, some myths and misconceptions about marriage counseling or couples therapy continue to persist. Many people still believe that going to couples counseling is the beginning of the end of a relationship.
The truth is that couples have a variety of reasons for seeking couples therapy. One study that was published in Professional Psychology: Research and Practice found that most people who went to couples therapy (57%) did so to get closer to or feel better about their partner.
Rather than a final effort to save a toxic relationship, many couples consider therapy an opportunity to strengthen their relationship and increase intimacy. If conflicts do arise in a relationship, it can be beneficial to work through these issues with an impartial therapist before they get out of hand and more serious arguments occur.
Benefits of Couples Therapy
The possible benefits of seeking couples counseling include:
- Improving communication skills between two people
- Discovering the root causes of conflict
- Developing a better understanding of one another’s behavior and motivations
- Improving self-awareness and personal growth
- Restoring emotional and physical intimacy
- Restoring lost trust
- Providing a secure environment and opportunity to heal
Most of the time, the benefits of couples counseling are clear within the first few minutes of a session. This is when the couple realizes that they are safe, that the marriage counselor or therapist knows what they are doing, and that they can talk to each other.
Success Rates of Couples Counseling
When done by fully trained, doctorate-level psychologists and professionals, couples counseling has been shown to work between 70 and 80% of the time.
Interestingly, that number is approximately 20 percent lower when therapists A.) are new to the profession and B.) use outdated therapy tools. That’s why Williamsburg Therapy Group only staffs doctoral-level psychologists to administer couples counseling.
What To Expect In Austin Couples Therapy
Even though there are some benefits to going to couples therapy alone, our marriage counselors usually recommend that both partners come to counseling sessions. These meetings can happen in person or online, depending on the situation and the availability of each partner.
Couples counseling will usually begin with some preliminary questions to get an idea of the relationship. These questions will be in regard to the history of the relationship, values, and cultural background. Your therapist will work to create a space where both partners have their feelings validated.
Since many couples attending therapy have a specific set of reasons for seeking counseling, sessions are usually very practical. Once treatment goals are established, a treatment plan may be discussed. The therapist will then help the couple figure out what's going wrong and give them "homework" to put the things they've learned in therapy to use.
Couples Counseling FAQs
It's natural to have questions about couples counseling or marriage counseling. At Williamsburg, our world-class staff loves to answer them.
How can a third person help my relationship?
When you see a couples therapist, you are enlisting a certified professional to analyze your relationship from an objective standpoint. This can be helpful because problems in a relationship often make it hard for each partner to see things clearly.
Why don’t I just ask my friends for advice?
This is certainly something you can do, especially if you trust your friends to be objective. But understand that, as your friend, it is very difficult for that to be the case. Also, if they aren't a licensed therapist, they probably don't have the right education, tools, and experience to help you.
What if the therapist tells us to break up?
That is very unlikely, unless breaking up is your goal as a couple and you want a therapist's help to discuss and navigate it, which is also perfectly valid. Usually, couples wish to stay together, and the therapist’s job (except in cases of abuse) is to facilitate the wants and needs of the couple.
Types of Couples Counseling
Every relationship is different, as is every relationship counselor. Therapists often specialize in one specific issue or another in order to be as helpful as possible for their clientele.
There are several different types of relationship counseling available in Austin, TX, which each strive to improve one or more aspects of a given relationship.
Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT)
Emotion-focused therapy, or EFT, is reported by the APA to help 75% of couples who participate. EFT focuses on finding disruptive emotional patterns in a relationship and working to resolve them.
Reflective listening refers to a technique used in couples counseling where "you" statements are changed to "I" statements. For example, if you say to your spouse: "You always come home late," your therapist may redirect your language to "I am uncomfortable with how often you come home late."
Reflective language like this also reflects sentiment, which helps each partner explore their emotional responses to the behaviors and speech of the other partner.
The Gottman Method
The Gottman Method, invented by Dr. John and Julie Gottman, uses at-home exercises as well as therapy sessions to help couples reach new levels of bonding.
The three main goals of The Gottman Method are:
- Increasing closeness and reestablishing friendship with your partner
- Improving the way you and your partner resolve and address conflict
- Building a life and shared meaning together
The Gottman Method can be used with other types of couples counseling to create faster and more sustainable results in therapy.
Discernment counseling is a type of therapy that is specifically designed for couples who are considering separation or divorce. It is a short-term, structured approach that can help couples clarify their feelings and determine the best course of action for their relationship.
The goal of discernment counseling is to help couples understand the reasons behind their decision to separate and to explore whether there is any potential for reconciliation. The counselor will typically work with the couple to identify the underlying issues in their relationship and to help them understand how these issues might be addressed in order to improve the relationship.
The focus of discernment counseling is not on fixing the relationship, but on helping couples to make an informed decision about their future.
How Much Does Couples Counseling Cost In Texas?
The cost of couples counseling can vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of therapy, the location, and the individual therapist or counseling center. In general, couples counseling can range from $180 - $350 per hour.
Some therapists may offer a sliding scale fee, which means that they will adjust their fees based on the couple's income and ability to pay. In some cases, couples counseling may be covered by health insurance, but this will depend on the individual policy and the type of therapy being sought.
It is important to discuss the cost of couples counseling with the therapist or counseling center before beginning treatment. Some therapists may offer a free first consultation, which can be a good time to talk about fees and ways to pay.
In addition to the cost of therapy sessions, couples may also need to pay for any additional resources or materials provided by the therapist, such as books or exercises to do at home. Overall, the cost of couples counseling can vary, but it is typically an investment in the health and well-being of the relationship.
Finding Couples Therapy In Austin, TX
If you and your partner live in Austin, Texas, and are seeking couples counseling, please make an appointment with one of our experienced psychologists at our Austin office. You can schedule an appointment with us to start the process today.